Presidential Villa roundup from Aug. 26 to Sept. 1, 2018

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Buhari and Onnoghen at NBA Conference
President Muhammadu Buhari with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Samuel Onnoghen, the outgoing NBA President Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud SAN, Incoming NBA President Mr Paul Usoro SAN, Chairman NBA 2018 Technical Committee on Conference Planning, Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Kano State Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and others during the 58th Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference 2018 held at the International Conference Centre in Abuja. PHOTO by Sunday Aghaeze. Aug. 26, 2018

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday Aug. 26 declared open the 2018 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), at the International Conference Centre Abuja, to kick-start his presidential villa activities for the week.

In his remarks the President said: “The rule of law must be subjected to the supremacy of the nation’s security and national interest. The law can only be optimally practiced in a Nigeria that is safe, secure and prosperous.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was also busy in faraway Minnesota, United States of America, on Sunday Aug. 26, where he attended a town hall meeting with Nigerians in the diaspora, during his two-day visit to the US.

In his remarks, Prof. Osinbajo spoke against calls for geographical restructuring, noting that proper utilization of resources and good governance was what Nigeria required to achieve its development aspirations.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo holds Town Hall Meeting with U.S. based Nigerians in Minnesota, U.S.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo holds Town Hall Meeting with U.S. based Nigerians in Minnesota, U.S.

According to the Vice President, “the problem with our country is not a matter of restructuring and we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into the argument that our problems stem from some geographical restructuring.

“It is about managing resources properly and providing for the people properly, that is what it is all about.”

On Monday, August 27, the President received the outgoing Denmark Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Torben Gettermann, at the State House, Abuja.

The President in his remarks noted that an initiative on dairy farming, being championed by Denmark and Kaduna State government, would curb clashes between cattle herders and farmers.

President Buhari receives the outgoing Denmark Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Torben Gettermann, at the State House, Abuja
President Buhari receives the outgoing Denmark Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Torben Gettermann, at the State House, Abuja

According to a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President noted that the establishment of dairy farms, as being promoted by Denmark, would save the country from clashes between herders and farmers, which is worsened by population explosion.

Also on Monday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, weighed in on a proof-of-life audio of Leah Sharibu, the Christian schoolgirl abducted along with others from the Government Girls Secondary School, Dapchi in Yobe State by Boko Haram terrorists.

In the 35 seconds audio uploaded by The Cable, an online newspaper, Leah cried out to President Muhammadu Buhari to help get her out of captivity.

Shehu said the Department of State Services was probing the audio purported to be the voice of Leah Sharibu, who is still in captivity.

Malam Garba Shehu Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari
Malam Garba Shehu Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari

He said government’s official reaction would be released at the end of the investigation, adding that President Buhari was committed to the release of all those in captivity and would not rest until the feat was achieved.

On Tuesday, August 28, President Buhari presided over a meeting of the ruling All Progressives Congress’ national caucus at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The meeting was attended by leaders of the party including national officers, state governors, former state governors, ministers and National Assembly members.

A former Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, and his Akwa Ibom State counterpart, Godswill Akpabio, who recently left the Peoples Democratic Party for the APC, attended the meeting for the first time.

Also on Tuesday Aug. 28, the Vice President attended the interactive session of the 58th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) held in Abuja.

In his remarks, Prof. Osinbajo called on institutions like the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to ensure the effective administration of justice for building a society with strong moral values.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo attends the interactive session of the 58th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) held in Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo attends the interactive session of the 58th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) held in Abuja

According to the Vice President, beyond government actions, every Nigerian has a responsibility to ensure that there is consequence for wrongdoing.

He said: “If you look at the whole question of how to develop a moral society, a society that is driven by values and principles, I think one of the major issues with that is to understand where we are coming from and how to resolve that problem.

“There is a great deal of moral and institutional decay. I don’t think there is any question at all about that.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, August 29, received the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, during which he assured the he was all out to ensure free, fair and credible elections in 2019.

President Buhari and UK Prime Minister Theresa May, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja
President Buhari and UK Prime Minister Theresa May, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists shortly after Buhari held a closed-door meeting with May at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

A major highpoint of the visit was the signing of security and economic development agreements between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

Also on Wednesday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, cited constitutional and legal breaches as the reasons President Muhammadu Buhari withheld his assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).

In a statement, Enang gave three reasons for the decision that has come under severe criticism from leading politicians and environmentalists.

Enang said the National Assembly empowered the Petroleum Regulatory Commission, one of the bodies created by the bill to unduly retain 10 per cent of the funds it generates to the detriment of the three tiers of government and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Senator Ita Enang
Senator Ita Enang, cites constitutional and legal breaches as the reasons President Muhammadu Buhari withheld his assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB)

According to him, the President vetoed the bill because it expands the scope of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) in a manner that is antithetical to the policy of his administration and consequently stipulating provisions that are in conflict with independent PEF.

The VP’s wing was also busy on Wednesday, Aug. 29, as the Vice President Osinbajo in the company of the British Secretary for Africa & International Development, Rt. Hon. Harriett Baldwin, visited the Ventures Platform Hub, Abuja.

In his remarks, Prof. Osinbajo said the Buhari administration will continue to create the right environment for the growth of technology companies, startups, and for innovation to thrive.

He said: “The fact is that a lot of these entrepreneurs actually started while we were in recession, and it is not just evidence of their resilience, hard work and creativity; but also, the fact that there is so much opportunity and so much talent here; and there is so much that can be done.”

Prof. Osinbajo, on the same day attended the National Last Days Gathering – LDG of the Calvary Ministries (CAPRO), conference with the theme: “Confronting this Darkness”, held at NOWA Education Centre, Karshi, Abuja.

Osinbajo attends the National Last Days Gathering (LDG) of the Calvary Ministries (CAPRO), conference in Abuja
Osinbajo (middle) attends the National Last Days Gathering (LDG) of the Calvary Ministries (CAPRO), conference in Abuja

In his brief remarks, Prof. Osinbajo urged the Church to pray for the leadership of the country, noting that it was the only way sustainable progress can be made.

On Thursday, Aug. 30, President Buhari was at the National Executive Council meeting of the All Progressives Congress in Abuja. In his opening remarks, the President urged the leadership of the party to provide the needed leadership and ensure that the party gets its internal dynamics right to ensure “an excellent performance” in the 2019 polls.

The President, who encouraged party leaders to ensure that decisions taken at the NEC take into account the yearnings and aspirations of party members across the country, observed that the current NEC members assumed duty at a very critical time, especially with the general elections coming very early next year.

Also on Thursday, President Buhari hosted the South West Caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to a dinner at the First Lady Conference hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

President Buhari hosts the South West Caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to a dinner at the First Lady Conference hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja
President Buhari hosts the South West Caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to a dinner at the First Lady Conference hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja

The dinner provided an opportunity for the party to strategise on the forthcoming Osun State governorship election slated for Sept. 22. The Campaign Council is being headed by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State.

Same day, the Presidency announced that President Buhari will depart for China on Friday to participate in the seventh Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) scheduled to hold on September 3 and 4, 2018 in Beijing.

The President’s first engagement in Beijing would be an interactive session with the Nigerian community in China at the Nigerian Embassy.

Before the formal opening of the FOCAC summit, Buhari in his capacity as the current Chairman of ECOWAS, will deliver a speech at the high-level dialogue between Chinese and African leaders, business representatives and African entrepreneurs.

The President is also scheduled to join Chinese President Xi Jinping and other African leaders at the opening and roundtable sessions of 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit with the theme: “Towards an even Stronger China-Africa Community with a shared Future.”

President Buhari and Chinese President Xi Jinping
President Buhari and Chinese President Xi Jinping

On Friday, August 31, President Buhari received German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Their discussions focused on security and migration issues.

During a closed door meeting with Merkel, the President was reported to have assured his host that his administration will always uphold the sanctity of the law in governing Nigeria.  The President also assured the German Chancellor that Nigeria will honour all agreements arising from the meeting.

President Buhari receives German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Abuja
President Buhari receives German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Abuja

Both leaders witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Federal Government and Volkswagen of South Africa for the manufacture of Volkswagen vehicles in Nigeria, while the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) signed a MoU with Petkus Technologies GMBH for the supply of seed and grain processing machines.

The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture also signed a MoU with the German African Business Association on fostering trade and investment.

Later on Friday, President Buhari departed Abuja with his wife Aisha, for Beijing, China, for the 7th Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

President Buhari departs Abuja with his wife Aisha, and daughter, for Beijing, China, for the 7th Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)
President Buhari departs Abuja with his wife Aisha, and daughter, for Beijing, China, for the 7th Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)

On Saturday, Sept. 1, Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity announced that President Buhari has arrived in Beijing to attend the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) holding September 3 – 4, 2018.

According to Shehu, during the 6-day official visit of the Nigerian President, he is expected to join his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping to witness the signing of an agreement on the National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase 11 (NICTIB 11) between Galaxy Backbone Limited and Huawei Technologies Limited (HUAWEI) at the cost of US $328 million facility provided by the Chinese EXIM Bank.

Read also: Presidential Villa roundup from Aug. 19 to Aug. 25, 2018 


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