President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that participation of citizens in democracy will continue to be encouraged through freedom of speech and robust political discourse.
The president stated this when he received Letters of Credence from Ambassadors; as well as High Commissioners of six countries at the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday, September 27, 2022.
He urged respect for divergent cultures and opinions, and upholding the unity of the country.
According to him, Nigeria’s strength remains in its diversity; adding that the constant differences in positions further signpost a strong democratic culture.
The High Commissioners of Republic of India, Mr Gangadharan Balasubramanian; Germany, Mrs Annett Gunther; as well as that of Democratic Republic of Congo, Mrs Gerengbo Pascaline presented their letters to President Buhari.
Others that presented their letters of credence at the event were those of Sudan, Mr Mohamed Abdelmannan; State of Palestine, Abdullah Abu Shawesh and The Kingdom of Netherlands, Mr Willem Wouter Plomp.
“As you settle down to your diplomatic responsibilities, you will realise how diverse Nigeria is.
”We are not 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, tend to give the impression that we are constantly opposed to each other.
“The reality is that there is so much that bind us together than the few areas of our divergence.
”I have no doubts in my mind that you will soon appreciate our uniqueness and indeed resilience as a people; as well as our diversity which constitutes our strength,’’ he said.
Buhari urged the diplomats to build on the existing good relations that their predecessors had achieved by being more proactive in engagements.
“Today’s occasion, during which you have just presented your Letters of Credence to me, officially marks the formal assumption of your representational duties as Ambassadors/High Commissioners of your respective countries to Nigeria.
“You represent some of the most prominent countries on the earth and some of our important trading, political and cultural partners.
“The bilateral relationship that exists between each of your countries and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is warm and very cordial…The cooperation and collaboration between us in several areas, such as socio-economic, political, security, education and cultural spheres,’’ he noted.