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Presidency defends Buhari’s trip to Liberia, says ‘he cares about peace in West Africa’

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The presidency on Monday defended President Muhammadu Buhari’s trip to Liberia where he would take part in the country’s 175th independence anniversary celebration.

In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the presidency said Buhari’s trip to Liberia showed the importance he attaches to the security, peace and wellbeing of the country and the rest of West Africa.

He was reacting to the criticism trailing the president’s trip to Liberia at a time Nigeria was facing its worst period of security challenges with terrorists invading Abuja and other parts of the country with reckless abandon.

Shehu said President Buhari would be the Special Guest of Honour at the celebration as Liberia marks its Special Independence anniversary of self-rule as the oldest independent post-colonial African country and would deliver an address.

The statement read: “The trip to Liberia comes at a time when political instability and the return of coups-d’état have upended two to three decades of democratic order in the sub-region.

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“Liberia, Sierra-Leone along with Nigeria are going into elections in 2023 and President Buhari is expected to emphasise to them the importance of free, fair and credible elections.

“The President is expected to stress the importance of the respect for rule of law throughout the sub-region. Without rule of Law and constitutional rule, there cannot be security, peace and development.

“Peace and security of Liberia (and Sierra-Leone) is important to Nigeria given the enormous investments in men, material and resources expended by this country to secure the two states.

“Without the leadership of Nigeria in the context of ECOWAS to secure these two, there would not have been a Liberia on the map in its present configuration today.”

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