News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Presidential Villa roundup for March 11 to March 17, 2018

President Buhari visits Benue in continuation of his visit to troubled spots in the country

President Muhammadu Buhari’s activities for the week began on Monday March 12, with a visit to Makurdi, Benue State, in continuation of his tour of troubled spots across the country.

While in Benue, the President held a town hall meeting with traditional rulers, community leaders and other stakeholders.

He appealed to leaders of various groups in the State to convince their constituents that the Federal Government is doing its best to end the recurring attacks by armed herdsmen in various parts of the country.

On his return to Abuja, the President received United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the evening at the Presidential Villa.

The President told the visiting U.S. Secretary of State that Nigeria preferred to have schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok and Dapchi back alive, and that is why it has chosen negotiation, rather than a military option.

President Muhammadu Buhari (r) with the visiting United States Secretary of State, Mr Rex Tillerson during a meeting at the Presidential Villa Abuja on Monday. Photo by Callistus Ewelike

The Vice President’s wing was also busy as the country’s number two citizen Prof. Yemi Osinbajo attended the public presentation of a book titled “Banking Reforms in Nigeria: The Law, the Prospects and the Challenges” written by Hon. Bode Ayorinde, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

Speaking at the event, Prof. Osinbajo explained why banking business and economic system have not favoured the weak and noted that the Buhari administration’s task was to run a system that works for all.

According to him, “It is not just access to banks for safekeeping of funds especially by the poor, those in rural, far-flung parts of the country, but also access by all to financial products designed for low-income earners.

“It is not just about financial inclusion for the poor but for everyone, especially those who earn little or small businesses, should have access to funds coming from the bank.”

From left: Author the books titled ‘Banking Reform in Nigeria and The Law, Prospects and the Challenges in Nigeria”, Dr Bode Ayorinde; Gov. Rotim Akeredolu of Ondo State; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Speaker , House of Representatives, Rep. Yakubu Dogara; Vice Chancellor, Achievers University, Prof. Tunji Ibiyemi ; Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, during the public presentation of the books in Abuja

Later on Monday, the Vice President met behind closed doors, at the Presidential Villa, with some executives of International Oil Companies operating in Nigeria on modalities for the actualization of the present administration’s agenda for the establishment of modular refineries in the Niger Delta region.

Tuesday, March 13, saw President Buhari officially launched the Economy Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Focus Labs at the Banquet Hall, State House in Abuja.

Speaking at the event, the President said the focus labs are part of the strategies being put in place to ensure implementation of the ERGP, adding that the strategy had been successfully used in other countries to boost their economies.

From left: Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Budget and National Planning during the Formal Launch of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) Focus Labs at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday

Later in the Villa, the President met with members of Rice Processors Association and urged them to engage in further discussions with Ministries of Agriculture and Finance as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to develop a strategy that would aid local rice production in the country.

Also on Tuesday, a statement issued by the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, announced that the President approved the appointment of Prof. Charles Quaker Dokubo as the new Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme for former Niger Delta militants. He replaced Brigadier-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd) who has been relieved of his appointment.

Still on Tuesday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo joined President Buhari and other cabinet ministers for the official launch of the Economy Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Focus Laboratories at the Banquet Hall, State House in Abuja.

He later joined President Buhari for the high-level meeting with members of Rice Processors Association held at the council chambers of the Presidential Villa.

From left: President Muhammadu Buhari (m) Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (3rd l) Gov Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi (3rd r) Gov Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa (2nd r) Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha (l) and members of the Rice Famers Association of Nigeria during their meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa in Abuja

On Wednesday, March 14, President Buhari continued his visit to troubled spots in the country with a visit to Damaturu and Dapchi, both in Yobe State.

In Damaturu, the President told a town hall meeting that he would do everything within his powers to ensure the safe return and release of the 110 Dapchi abducted school girls.

In Dapchi, the President met with the parents and families of the abducted school girls and reassured them of his unwavering commitment to the safe return of the girls.

In the absence of the President, the Vice President chaired the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting at the council chambers where key decisions on the economy were reached by the council.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (r) with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha during the Federal Executive Council Meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday

Thursday, March 15, saw the President visit Niger State to commission Sunti Golden Sugar Estates.

In his remarks at the event, the President thanked investors who had shown confidence in the Nigerian economy by supporting the policies of the Federal government.

He added that his administration would continue to support the private sector to create jobs in the country.

On Thursday night, the President met with the leadership of the National Assembly at the Presidential Villa.

Speaking to State House Correspondents after the meeting, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, confirmed that the lawmaker’s threat to override the President’s veto on the Electoral Amendment was discussed in addition to the issue of the failure of the MDAs to defend their budgets.

The President was reported to have directed that all Ministers and heads of Federal government departments and agencies defend their budgets without further delay.

The Vice President also on Thursday March 15 was joined by family and guests at his Aguda House residence for the private engagement ceremony of his daughter, Oludamilola Osinbajo.

VP Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and wife with the daughter and son in-law during their daughter’s wedding engagement

A reception that was attended by state governors, party leaders, cabinet ministers, lawmakers and captains of industry, was later held at the State House Banquet Hall.

On Friday, March 16, President Buhari was in Kano to attend the wedding Fatiha of Fatima Dangote and Jamil Abubakar.

Later, a statement issued by presidential spokesperson, Malam Garba Shehu said the President approved the establishment of a National Food Security Council headed by him with Governors of Kebbi, Taraba, Plateau, Lagos, Ebonyi and Delta States as some of the members.

Still on wedding ceremony; President Buhari on Saturday, March 17, in Abuja, attended the wedding reception of Oludamilola Osinbajo, daughter of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and Oluseun Bakare.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday attended the wedding reception between Damilola Osinbajo, daughter of Vice President and Oluseun Bakare in Abuja

Earlier in the day, the President had issued a statement congratulating the Chinese President Xi Jinping on his re-election as the President of the Peoples Republic of China.

In a letter personally signed by him, the Nigerian leader praised his Chinese counterpart for his wisdom and vision.

Following the death of the Senator representing Bauchi South Senatorial District, Senator Ali Wakil, on Saturday, President Buhari paid tribute to the deceased Senator describing his death as “an incalculable loss to Nigeria’s democracy.”

The President said that the death of the senator came as a great shock to him, adding that his dedication to duty would remain one of the greatest virtues for which he would be remembered.

Also on Saturday, March 17 in Abuja, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo attended the wedding solemnization of his daughter Oludamilola Osinbajo, and Oluseun Bakare, at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.

He was joined at the event by leaders across different sectors of the Nigerian economy and the clergy, for the event.

The Vice President later hosted President Muhammadu Buhari and other notable dignitaries to a reception held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.

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