Presidential Villa roundup from July 1 to July 7, 2018

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President Buhari at the AU Summit in Mauritania; behind is Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama
President Buhari at the AU Summit in Mauritania; behind is Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama

President Muhammadu Buhari started his activities for the week on Sunday, July 1, in Nouakchott, Mauritania, when he called on nations where looted assets have been stashed to release them without the usually long technicalities involved in the process of repatriation.

In his remarks at a session on anti-corruption on the margins of the 31st Session of the African Union (AU) Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania, the President said: “We must all collectively work to place high on the agenda the need for open and participatory government, as well as the repatriation of stolen assets without procedural technicalities and legal obstacles.”

The President spoke in his capacity as the leader of the AU anti-corruption campaign.

The AU theme of the year is “Winning the Fight against Corruption, A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”

Buhari meets Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the AU Summit
Buhari meets Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the AU Summit

President Buhari also appraised the anti-corruption efforts so far: “During the last 6 months, we have engaged in multi-sectoral dialogue with a broad range of actors including parliamentarians, national anti-corruption agencies, civil society, media, youth and women groups and development partners.

We have convened three (3) different regional Consultative Workshops in line with my campaign programme in an effort to sensitize our people on the evil effects of corruption on our societies.

These workshops will be extended to other regional blocs as we continue the fight against corruption in a bid to transform our continent.”

On Monday July 2, President Buhari returned to Abuja after his participation at the 31st Session of the AU Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania.

Nigeria and France on Tuesday, July 3 signed a number of agreements on projects worth $475 million after a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and French President Emmanuel Macron at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Emmanuel Macron of France visits President Buhari
Emmanuel Macron of France visits President Buhari

The meeting also took far-reaching decisions on security and the economy. The agreements dwelt on French assistance to the tune of $475 million for some projects in Lagos, Kano and Ogun states.

Earlier before his audience with President Macron, the President had received the outgoing Ambassador of the State of Kuwait, Dr Abdulaziz Alsharrah.

The President commended the cordial relations between Nigeria and the State of Kuwait, noting that the relations between both countries are important not only at the bilateral level, but also as members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), in which they shared a common interest.

On Wednesday, July 4, 2018, President Buhari presided over the meeting of the weekly Federal Executive Council.

President Muhammadu Buhari presiding over the Federal Executive Council Meeting held at the Council Chambers in Abuja

Briefing reporters after the meeting the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said he was not aware of an order of mandamus granted by a court for the National Assembly to begin impeachment process against President Buhari.

On approvals by the Council, Mohammed announced that FEC approved N206 billion for the construction of 11.9 kilometre-link road to the second Niger Bridge in the contract awarded to Julius Berger.

According to him, the project was initiated by the former administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan under the private public partnership (PPP) but collapsed, and now taken over by the Federal Government.

Mohammed also said the council approved three memoranda from the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun; one of the memoranda, he said, sought the ratification of the Multi-lateral Competent Authority Agreement on automatic exchange of financial account information.

According to the minister, the memorandum would assist the government in curbing the problem of tax evasion and simultaneously improve revenue collection of government.

FEC Meeting
Finance minister (middle) with others at a FEC meeting

FEC also approved another memorandum by Adeosun seeking the approval of ratification of the African Fifty Article Association.

Later on Wednesday, the President received Namibian President Hage Geingob at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

At a joint press conference, President Buhari, while responding to questions said his administration is selling off assets recovered from looters and putting the money in the government coffers to forestall what happened in the past.

The President noted that stolen assets seized from looters under his military rule were returned to them when he was ousted in 1983, adding that he would not allow such to happen again.

On Thursday July 5, President Buhari received members of the Christian Association of Nigeria from the 19 northern states and Abuja at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Buhari with leaders of CAN in northern Nigeria
Buhari with leaders of CAN in northern Nigeria

The President told members of the Christian community to remain united and collectively shame those stoking violence in the country for their short term political gains.

He said that the claims that being a Fulani, he must be encouraging the killings being perpetrated by armed herdsmen in parts of the country seemed to him that there was no limit to the evil in the minds of men.

The President, who said it was unfair for anybody to accuse his government of not doing anything to stop the killings, wondered how anyone in their right minds would suggest that he, who emerged as President with substantial votes from the affected areas, would do any harm to the same people who voted for him.

After meeting the Christian leaders on Thursday, the President presided over a brief event where he signed an executive order to freeze assets of individuals with corruption cases.

The order is entitled Executive Order No. 6 of 2018 “on the Preservation of Assets connected with serious corruption and other relevant offences.

Buhari shows the executive order on assets forfeiture, signed on July 5
Buhari shows the executive order on assets forfeiture, signed on July 5

In his remarks, the President noted that there is a very strong link between corruption and peace and security of the country.

“I am delighted to welcome you all to this very important occasion, which is another milestone in the fight against corruption- a project that is very crucial to the viability and continuous well-being of this country.”

President Buhari was in Monguno, northern Borno, on Friday July 6, as the Special Guest of Honour at the closing events of the 2018 Army Day Celebrations. In his remarks at the event, the President promised to fish out and punish politicians, who are deliberately instigating violence in some states as a way of seeking relevance in the country’s politics.

President Buhari arriving Monguno for the Army Day
President Buhari arriving Monguno for the Army Day

Later on Friday, the Presidency issued a statement quoting President Buhari to have congratulated his Turkey counterpart Recep Erdogan on his reelection.

In a telephone conversation, President Buhari expressed the hope that the results of the recently held elections will strengthen democracy and lead Turkey towards more economic prosperity.

The President welcomed his invitation to the July 9 inauguration in Ankara but regretted his inability to be personally present.

The President told the Turkish leader that the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammed Bello will represent him.

President Muhammadu Buhari congratulates his Turkish counterpart, Mr Recep Erdogan via telephone over his election victory
President Muhammadu Buhari congratulates his Turkish counterpart, Mr Recep Erdogan via telephone over his election victory

On Saturday, July 7, President Buhari reacted to the Supreme Court acquittal of Senate President Bukola Saraki on the allegations of non-declaration of some of his assets.

In a statement issued by Mallam Garba Shehu, his media aide, the President said the courts should be allowed to do their jobs, adding that the judiciary system, no matter the challenges it faces, is truly working and no one should be allowed to undermine or break it.

Read also: Presidential Villa roundup from June 24 to June 30, 2018

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