Yaoundé, the Cameroonian capital, was in festive mood yesterday after President Muhammadu Buhari and his entourage arrived at the VIP Wing of the nation’s international airport at 10:50am for a two-day working visit.
From the airport to his hotel room – which is about 25 minutes’ drive – Cameroonians and Nigerians thronged the road to welcome the Nigerian delegation.
They danced and waved to Buhari and his entourage.
Shops and buildings by the roadside were shut.
Snipers were strategically positioned on top of high-rise buildings by the roadside.
The two nations’ flags and banners were hung on the two sides of the road.
After the exchange of pleasantries at the Cameroonian State House called “Unity Palace”, the two leaders held a closed-door meeting.
Besides security issues and Boko Haram threats, they also discussed bilateral relations between the two countries.
But after the meeting, Buhari declared that Nigeria as an abiding nation had to live with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling, which ceded the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon.
He spoke during an interactive session with Nigerians residing in Cameroon.
Some of them complained that they were being treated as foreigners in Cameroon since the ICJ’s ruling.
“Since Nigeria allowed the case to go to court and we lost, we have to abide by it,” Buhari said.
He assured the four million Nigerians residing in Cameroon of his commitment to look after their welfare and safety.
His words: “Fellow compatriots, permit me to say, as I have done during my inauguration on May 29, 2015, I am committed towards bringing positive change to Nigeria and I will do everything possible to achieve that. Despite the numerous challenges confronting us, the future of our country is very bright.
“You all know very well that your fellow Nigerians are resilient, hardworking and patriotic. These qualities have always seen us through our most difficult national challenges and they will do so now.
“However, this government’s job is to see that we unite and work together for the common good of our country.
“The recent economic downturn occasioned by the fall in oil prices at the global market, which drastically affects our national revenue, is a serious cause for concern to us.”
He said adequate measures would be put in place to minimise the shock of the downturn on the economy through diversification.
Buhari added that his administration would “fight corruption before it kills Nigeria”.
The President assured that the security challenges confronting Nigeria would soon be a thing of the past.
He advised the gathering to be patient and vigilant to ensure that youths were not misguided into joining terrorist groups.
“We must also support our gallant security and military personnel as they fight to defend our country,” he said.
Stressing that “Nigeria’s relation with Cameroon is one of the closest in the sub-region”, he said that the Federal Government “places prime importance on the political, socio-economic and security cooperation between the two countries”.
The President responded to questions and comments from the citizens at the gathering.