President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday in Abuja charged Saudi Arabia’s new Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Fuad Bin Adul-Aziz Rajih to do everything possible to ease and facilitate the annual participation of Nigerian pilgrims in the Hajj.
Speaking at an audience with Mr. Rajih, after receiving his letters of credence at the Presidential Villa, President Jonathan urged him to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria to reduce or completely remove hitches and “grey areas” that crop up occasionally to hinder the airlifting of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
Noting that Nigerians are a very religious people who take their religious obligations seriously, President Jonathan told the new Ambassador that the Federal Government will greatly appreciate his cooperation and support in making the participation of Nigerian Moslems in the Hajj easier and free of hindrances.
The President told Mr. Rajih that Nigeria will welcome greater economic relations with Saudi Arabia as well and urged him to also focus on expanding areas of economic cooperation between the two countries during his tenure.
At an earlier audience with the new Ugandan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Peter Kagimu Kiwanuka, President Jonathan said that African nations must make a greater effort to boost formal economic and trade relations amongst them.
The President told Mr. Kiwanuka that Nigeria was committed to making trade amongst African nations easier and less cumbersome, and will work with Uganda and other members of the African Union to achieve this objective.
He also received the new Ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mr. Jong Yong Chol and assured him of the Federal Government’s support and cooperation during his tenure in Abuja.
President Jonathan later received the outgoing Ambassador of Kuwait, Mr. Saad Al-Asousi.
He praised Mr. Al-Sousi for his efforts to strengthen bilateral relations between Nigeria and Kuwait in the past four years and assured him that Nigeria will continue to work closely with Kuwait at the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other international fora.