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President Muhammadu Buhari says it is important to always authenticate the origin of people abroad in distress before evacuating them to Nigeria, saying “not every black man is a Nigerian.”

Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said in a statement on Friday that Buhari made his position known at a meeting with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Buhari, who spoke on recent repatriation of some Nigerians from Libya, said not every black man was a Nigerian, and was, therefore, important to authenticate the origin of the people in distress before they were evacuated.

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He said “we are trying to bring as many as possible from Libya. But not every black man is a Nigerian.

“Others claim to be Nigerians, when they are not, and because they have destroyed their travel papers, we can’t claim them, except there is proper documentation.”

The President, however, noted that good neighbourliness and relationship were important for security and economic development.

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“That was why I visited all our neighbours. Such relationship is crucial for security, and economic development so our youths could get jobs,’’ he said.

On recharging of the Lake Chad, he said “the earlier we get it done, the better, so that our youths don’t continue to dare the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea.’’

The AU Commission boss congratulated the President for what he was doing for Nigeria, and for Africa.

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He said “without President Buhari, and without Nigeria, many things would not have been possible.

“I appreciate the role you played in my election and all that you do in ECOWAS, Lake Chad Basin Commission, and the entire continent.

“We follow your battle against corruption, and it is not by chance that you have been chosen by other African leaders to champion the battle in 2018.

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“Your commitment is notable, and I seek your support for reforms that we intend to introduce in AU. Your guidance is vital.’’

He stressed the need for Africa to always speak with one voice, stressing that “the voice of Nigeria is preponderant.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Federal Government had already evacuated hundreds of thousands of voluntary returnees from Libya in the last three years.

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