President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that the participation of citizens in democracy would continue to be encouraged through freedom of speech and robust political discourse.
Receiving Letters of Credence from Ambassadors and High Commissioners of six countries at the State House in Abuja on Tuesday, Buhari told the diplomats that Nigeria’s strength remains in its diversity, and the constant differences in positions further signpost a strong democratic culture.
The Ambassadors and High Commissioners of Democratic Republic of Congo, Mrs Gerengbo Yakivu Pascaline, Republic of India, Mr Gangadharan Balasubramanian, Germany, Mrs Annett Gunther, The Kingdom of Netherlands, Mr Willem Wouter Plomp, Sudan, Mr Mohamed Yousif Ibrahim Abdelmannan, State of Palestine, Abdullah M.A. Abu Shawesh presented their Letters of Credence to President Buhari.
Buhari said, “As you settle down to your diplomatic responsibilities, you’ll realise how diverse Nigeria is. We aren’t only multi-ethnic and religious but also multi-cultural.
“We enjoy unfettered freedom of speech and engage in robust political discourses. Sometimes, the nature of these discourses tends to give the impression that we are constantly opposed to each other.
“The reality is that there’s so much that binds us together than the few areas of our divergence. I have no doubts in my mind that you’ll soon appreciate our uniqueness and indeed resilience as a people, as well as our diversity which constitutes our strength.”
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Buhari also urged the diplomats to build on the existing good relations that their predecessors had achieved by being more proactive in engagements.