Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama. Photo: Hamza Alkali (Radio Nigeria).
President Muhammadu Buhari has unveiled nine key priority areas of his second term administration.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, made the disclosure on Thursday, while briefing the diplomatic corps in Abuja.
Onyeama listed the building of a virile economy, enlarging agricultural output, energy sufficiency, expansion of transport and infrastructure, amongst others as the new focus of the administration.
He disclosed that the government has adopted a ‘Nigeria First Foreign Policy’ as the nation’s new foreign policy direction.
Onyeama recalled that during the first term of President Muhammadu Buhari, security, fight against corruption and job creation were the key priority areas of the administration.
He, however, said during the second term, President Buhari is expanding the focus which will guide the policy direction over the next four years.
“This second mandate, we have nine priority areas the government has identified. And these are to guide our policy direction over the next four years.
“One is building a thriving and sustainable economy; enlarging agricultural output for food security and export; attain energy sufficiency and power and petroleum products; expand transport and other infrastructure development; expand business growth, entrepreneurship and industrialisation; expand access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians; enhance social inclusion, reduce poverty, build systems to fight corruption; improve governance and create social cohesion and improve security for all,” Onyeama disclosed.
On foreign policy thrust, Onyeama stated that the government is of the opinion that a realistic foreign policy should reflect domestic realities.
“So, you can also call it a ‘Nigeria First Policy.’ But that will not be very original because I think somebody else might want to claim a copyright on using first for a country having interest or promotion of foreign policy. But basically, it is going to be a ‘Nigeria First Foreign Policy,’” Onyeama added.
Onyeama further said if the nation adopts a concentric circle methodology, the country could say that its first priority would be Nigeria’s contiguous neighbours such as Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger which shared border with Nigeria.
He emphasised that with them, “we are allies in the battle to defeat terrorism,” noting that the battle was an existential battle.
At the sub-regional level, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Onyeama also said Nigeria is fully committed to sub-regional integration.
He added that the security, social, economic, political and judicial building blocs were well established and the integration programme is progressing steadily.
At the continental level, Onyeama stated that Nigeria also fully subscribed to the African Union vision of an integrated Africa.
Onyeama who also spoke on the conduct of the diplomatic corps in the country, told the ambassadors and heads of missions accredited to the country to always engage the country through the normal diplomatic channels.
He noted that some diplomats were reported to have gone into areas that are considered sensitive for political or security reasons for purposes that are not always very clear.
While also pointing out instances of making direct contact with the Presidency and other agencies and at the state level, Onyeama said the ministry would prefer that it became the first contact in any of their dealings.
This, he added, was to ensure respect at all times, all the diplomatic protocols and also have cohesive engagements with the government through the ministry.