The President spoke during a bilateral meeting with the visiting Prime Minister at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, welcomed Britain’s support at strengthening democratic institutions in the country.
He said: “I assure you that I’m all out for free, fair and credible elections. I’m very pleased that my party is doing very well. The High Commissioner will brief you more. The recent successes in polls in Katsina, Bauchi, and Kogi have boosted our morale greatly.
‘‘Nigeria has accepted multiparty democracy and that is putting politicians on their toes, forcing them to work harder,’’ he said.
On the anti-corruption campaign, the President applauded Britain’s support to Nigeria, noting that the success of the fight is very important to ordinary Nigerians.
He said: “We had great opportunities and resources between 1999 and 2014, due to high oil prices. But when we came in 2015, oil prices plunged to as low as 37 dollars per barrel.
‘‘What we have been doing since 2015 is to focus on infrastructure development, despite low earnings. Work is ongoing in roads, rail, power, and many others.”
On Brexit, Buhari noted that it provides an opportunity to strengthen the historic ties between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
‘‘We are nervously watching the development about Brexit because we know that the relationship had been on for a long time. I assure you that I am prepared to strengthen the relationship between our two countries.’’
The President also thanked the UK government for its support on security and the fight against insurgency in the North Eastern part of Nigeria, and the improved trade relations between both countries.
‘‘I am very grateful to the British government under you leadership for the help in security, particularly your training team that is in our institution in Kaduna,’’ he said.
Speaking earlier before the bilateral meeting, Buhari underscored the need for UK support on reviving of Lake Chad, which is a means of livelihood for millions of people. The water is said to be dying up, putting at risk fishing, which is the major means of livelihood for many.
The President told the visiting Prime Minister that Europe and China were already conducting an in-depth study on recharging the Lake through inter-basin transfer from the Central African Republic.
May, who welcomed the assurance by the federal government on credible elections in 2019, said she was pleased to be in Abuja to continue the ‘‘excellent discussions’’ she started with President Buhari in London last April, particularly on security, trade, asset recovery and the fight against corruption.
‘‘Security and defence cooperation are very important steps to address Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa,’’ May said.
On asset recovery, the Prime Minister told President Buhari: ‘‘We do not want to hold anything that belongs to Nigerian people, but we follow the judicial process, which can be slow.’’
The Prime Minister urged Buhari to use his position as ECOWAS Chair to keep human trafficking on the front burner in the sub-region.
President Buhari and Prime Minister May witnessed the signing of two agreements: Security and Defence Partnership and Economic Development Forum Agreement.
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said: “There were two agreements that were signed today. The first one was Defence and Security Partnership between the two countries. It was signed by the respective national security advisers and the second one was on Economic Development Forum that has been set up.
“This clearly highlights the two priority areas in our relationship at the moment.
“Under the Defence and Security Pact, it is a comprehensive agreement that covers all aspects of security challenges. So, apart from the military training, there is also the support for policing, civil policing, human rights aspect of security and the close cooperation that the two countries will have, the training that will be provided by the UK to our security forces.
“On the economic development forum, this is a forum that really aims at co-prosperity. The prosperity of our two countries is sloping to leverage in areas where we have as countries comparative advantages, the financial centre that London is and the investment opportunities in our country and ready to build that up with the private sector as well as the government level. So everything will be comprehensive and involve different stakeholders and this is in the context of UK’s BREXIT. Coming out of the European union, they feel freer now to engage with countries on bilateral level and build up trade relations with those countries.
“For us, this also fits into our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan where Mr. President has put forward a roadmap that is really transforming this country. So this partnership is a framework that is very key to our Economic Growth and Development Plan.”
“On human rights, we have taken a number of steps. Mr. President has set up a committee that looks into the various allegations made against our military and the process is ongoing and we are very keen to have as a government a mechanism within the security apparatus of this country that ensures that the correct procedures and methods are employed by the military and so of course, in a cooperation with us in the area of security, the United Kingdom and other countries also expect that we will maintain the highest human rights standard,” Onyeama said.