President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has said the Administration has taken difficult decisions in the past few weeks, but this was in the interest of the future of Nigeria.

 

President Jonathan was speaking to the outgoing Ambassador of Iran to Nigeria, Mr. Hussein Abdullahi, at State House, Thursday.

 

He said government Is focused on the total deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector, not removal of subsidy alone.

 

The President commended Mr. Abdullahi for the admirable steps taken during his tenure to strengthen relations between Iran and Nigeria, and wished him success in his next post.

 

Earlier, the Iranian Ambassador had told President Jonathan that his country also had to withdraw petroleum subsidies two years ago, noting that 70% of the savings were devoted to infrastructural development and 30% to the provision of other palliatives.

 

At another audience, President Jonathan told the outgoing Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr. Amidou Diarra that African leaders need to imbibe democratic tenets in order to enable peaceful transitions.

 

“It is important for African leaders to leave the stage when their time is up, so that we can strengthen democracy”, he said.

 

He said Cote d’Ivoire was making good progress, and the relations between the two countries were “robust”.

 

Responding, Mr. Amidou Diarra thanked President Jonathan and Nigeria for standing by Cote d’Ivoire during the conflict, and said he enjoyed his three-year tenure in Nigeria.

 

President Jonathan also received a special message from Ethiopian Prime Minister, Mr. Meles Zenawi, Thursday. The message was delivered by Mr. Wondimu Gezahegn, Minister of State, Ethiopia.