By Aidoghie Paulinus, abuja

The Federal Government and the Kingdom of Spain met yesterday in Abuja to strategize on ways to address insecurity in the country and maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.

The development took place during a bilateral meeting between the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and his Spanish counterpart, José Manuel Albares Bueno.

Speaking during the meeting, Onyeama said the two countries were close and deep partners.

Onyeama said: “Nigeria is one of the main suppliers in the field of oil and gas for Spain and of course with the challenges we are facing globally today, this is a very important relationship and we also want to diversify our cooperation. economic.

“Spain is a great country and a great player in the European Union (EU) and worldwide. So we want to see increased trade as we also look to diversify beyond fossil fuels and trade and cooperate in other economic fields.

“We are particularly delighted when we talk about security, not only military security, but also food security and Spain is a big investor in the agricultural sector in Africa and has some big companies in Nigeria like GB fruit and others that are doing very important things. and very productive work with Nigeria in the agricultural sector.

“So we are delighted with the cooperation that we are seeing in that area and also within the EU framework, we are delighted with the cooperation that we have to address insurgency and terrorism in the Sahel and this part of Africa. We will continue to work with you and with the world community, the UN and the EU to definitively address the security challenges we face in our sub-region and we truly appreciate your country’s support and cooperation.”

Onyeama also said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Spain last year was a testament to the importance the two countries attached to their relations at the highest level.

Speaking earlier, Bueno said that Nigeria was one of the big regional players, the biggest economy in Africa and an absolute pillar of ECOWAS and sub-Saharan Africa.

“My visit is to give new impetus to relations that are already solid and has as a milestone the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Spain in which five MOUs and three judicial cooperation treaties were signed. That visit was a success thanks to the efforts of the Nigerian Foreign Minister. My visit today will dwell on several issues, the first of which is bilateral cooperation. We have been working very successfully when it comes to migration. Nigeria attended the high-level meeting on regular and labor migration in September in the Spanish city of Malaga.

“Our economic cooperation is an absolute center of relations. Spain is one of the best clients of Nigeria in the world and very specifically, we are the second client of Nigeria in the world. We have been one of the largest buyers of gas and oil for a long time and we want to continue strengthening that energy relationship and promoting it.

“But our bilateral relations are getting deeper and more aspects have been covered. Security is a challenge for Nigeria and we want to offer our support to Nigeria in this rare challenge. We express our solidarity with Nigeria in the fight against terrorism, this is a threat that Spain knows very well from our recent history. We commend the efforts of the Nigerian government to fight against violence and terrorism and, at the same time, we want to help Nigeria to address the root causes of these conflicts”, said the Spanish minister.