Presidential Villa roundup from July 15 to July 21, 2018

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President Buhari arrives in the Hague ahead of his 3-day official visit to attend ICC's 20th anniversary
President Buhari arrives in the Hague ahead of his 3-day official visit to attend ICC’s 20th anniversary

President Buhari arrived in the Netherlands on Sunday, July 15, for an official working visit. The visit kick started his activities for the week.

In the Netherlands, the President is expected to deliver the keynote address at the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague and also meet with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Hutte, to discuss bilateral issues between Nigeria and the Netherlands.  

Shortly before his departure, the President congratulated Dr John Kayode Fayemi for winning the Ekiti State governorship election.

While commending the people of the State for their matured and peaceful conduct during the election, the President urged the governor-elect and APC members to be magnanimous in victory as the incoming administration prepares to unfold a new lease of life for the people of Ekiti State through purposeful and responsible governance.

On Monday, July 16, President Buhari met with members of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), the Netherlands Chapter.

According to a statement issued by Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President lauded members of NIDO for their professional and intellectual achievements and contributions to the development of their motherland.

President Muhammadu Buhari meets with Nigerian professionals residing in the Netherlands
President Muhammadu Buhari meets with Nigerian professionals residing in the Netherlands

“I am pleased with the quality of people I am seeing. You are high quality people. Congratulations on your personal achievements,” he said.

Among those who met President Buhari were Julius Nnamdi Nwankpa, Chairman NIDO, and Dr Mustapha Gidado, a specialist in tuberculosis, having oversight over management of the disease in 22 countries.

Others are Lola Visser Mabogunje, a performance monitoring expert, Dr Peter Ngene, a research scientist and Assistant Professor at Utrecht University, Engineer Cornelius Obot, a software expert, and Toyin Loyo, an artist and culture enthusiast of international repute.

Same day, the President was reported to have held a roundtable with over 20 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Dutch-owned companies, currently with business investments valued at over 2 billion dollars in Nigeria.  

President Buhari met with over 20 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Dutch-owned companies, currently with business investments valued at over 2 billion dollars in Nigeria
President Buhari met with over 20 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Dutch-owned companies, currently with business investments valued at over 2 billion dollars in Nigeria

The President assured them of a secure Nigeria, where their investments would be safe, and yield handsome returns.

“Stability was the first thing in our campaigns. You have to secure a country first, before you can efficiently manage it. Before businesses can thrive, security is paramount. That is why we lay so much emphasis on securing the country.

“After security, our next emphasis is reviving the economy, and then, fighting corruption,” the President said.

He commended the many Dutch-owned companies operating in Nigeria for dealing fairly, noting that with many of them, “the relationship dates back more than two generations, and it is now almost a blood relationship rather than commercial.”

Later on Monday at the Binnenhof, which houses the office of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, President Buhari met with Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands and the two leaders restated their commitment to growing trade partnership between Nigeria and the Netherlands.

Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, with President Buhari
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and President Buhari

During the talks, Rutte described Nigeria as the Netherlands’ most important trading partner, noting that in the field of modern agriculture there are opportunities for Dutch companies and knowledge institutes.

The two leaders also discussed issues related to the fight against insurgency in the North East, climate change, particularly the shrinkage of Lake Chad, economic cooperation, the fight against corruption and a range of other issues of mutual interest.

President Buhari welcomed the interest of the Dutch Prime Minister on Lake Chad and commitment to establish a technical committee to work with the Nigerian side on the best approach to address the issue of the receding Lake, according to a statement by Femi Adesina.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo began his activities on Monday, July 16, when he chaired the 8th meeting of the Presidential Quarterly Business Forum held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo chairs the 8th meeting of the Presidential Quarterly Business Forum held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo chairs the 8th meeting of the Presidential Quarterly Business Forum held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja; on his left is Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola and the right is Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Okechukwu Enelamah

The event recorded the endorsement of the Buhari administration’s economic policies and direction by some private sector chieftains.

Mrs Nike Akande of NACCIMA and Engr. Ibrahim Usman of MAN both acknowledged the progress recorded as a result of some of the economic policies of the Federal Government.

In his remarks at the event, the Vice President said the successes were as a result of the robust and effective partnership that the Federal Government had nurtured with the private sector.

He said: “it has been as a result of our rigorous partnership with the private sector, which is a crucial component of the government’s economic policy.”

President Buhari delivered his much awaited keynote address at the ICC on Tuesday, July 17, during a Solemn Hearing to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Court.

In his address, the President canvassed support for ICC with jurisdiction over serious cases of corruption and illicit financial flows by state actors.

President Buhari delivered his keynote address at the ICC during a Solemn Hearing to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Court
President Buhari delivered his keynote address at the ICC during a Solemn Hearing to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Court

The President also assured the international community of a free, fair and peaceful 2019 general elections in Nigeria, noting that under his watch the tragic incidents that characterised the 2011 general elections, necessitating preliminary investigations by the ICC, will not happen again in Nigeria.

Later on Tuesday, the President accompanied by Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State; Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman and other top government officials, toured the Port of Rotterdam and the Shell Refinery Pernis, Hoogvliet, a borough of Rotterdam, Netherlands.

He was reported to have met with Shell CEO and discussions focused on investments in deep water and gas projects in Nigeria.

The Vice President was in Sokoto on Tuesday, July 17, to inaugurate the new BUA Group cement factory as well as commiserate with the government and people of Sokoto State over the unfortunate attack on communities by some armed men.

L-R: Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal welcoming Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Sultan Abubakar III International Airport,
L-R: Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal welcoming Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Sultan Abubakar III International Airport,

Also on Tuesday, the Vice President made an unscheduled visit to communities affected by flood disaster in Jibia, Katsina State.

In his remark, the Vice President pledged government’s commitment to providing relief for those affected by flood disasters in Katsina and other parts of the country.

On Wednesday, July 18, President Muhammadu Buhari concluded his successful Official Visit to the Netherlands, meeting with Nigerian Embassy staff, before departing for home.

According to a statement by Adesina, the President thanked the embassy staff for being worthy ambassadors of the country. He returned to Abuja later on Wednesday.

Vice President Osinbajo had a busy schedule on Wednesday, July 18, when he declared open the National Development Summit of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria which also coincided with the 10th Anniversary of the summit.

In his remark at the event, Vice President acknowledged the crucial role of the traditional institution in the peace and security of the nation.

Vice President Osinbajo declared open the National Development Summit of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria 
Vice President Osinbajo declared open the National Development Summit of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria

According to him, “It is clear that Nigeria’s greatness will only truly emerge in an atmosphere of peace and security. And for this peace and security to be guaranteed, we must, as governments, constitutionally mandated to protect the lives and property of Nigerians, deepen our cooperation with and dependence on traditional rulers across the country.

“Indeed, many of our traditional cultures have long perfected timeless dispute resolution and community engagement mechanisms that are now under threat of being lost forever.”

Also on Wednesday, the Vice President visited flood victims in Abeokuta Ogun state to commiserate with them.

In his remark, the Vice President assured them of government’s support.

Thursday, July 19, saw President Buhari receive Governor-elect of Ekiti State, John Kayode Fayemi in the Presidential Villa. He also met with the newly elected Executive Officers of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the family of late former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme.

Fayemi meets Buhari after Ekiti gubernatorial election victory
Fayemi meets Buhari after Ekiti gubernatorial election victory

The President also had a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki and some APC Governors.

In a statement by Adesina on the President’s meeting with members of the NMA, the President was reported to have said that the Federal Government is considering an upward review of budgetary allocation to the health sector in order to improve the quality and access to medical facilities across the country.

The President said the review of the budgetary allocation will reflect the government’s priority of ensuring that Nigerians get better healthcare, especially in specialised areas.

President Buhari also assured leaders of NMA that the White Paper from the Ahmed Yayale-led panel report on Inter-professional Harmony in the Healthcare Sector was already being considered by the government to ensure more organised and harmonised working relationships among medical practitioners.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina: On the outcome of President Buhari’s meeting the NMA leadership

Meanwhile, Governor-elect Fayemi after meeting with the President told State House Correspondents that it will be irresponsible on his part not to probe the administration of the out-going governor of the state, Ayo Fayose.

The governor-elect said his administration will examine what transpired in the last four years in Ekiti state including the failure of the Fayose-led administration to pay workers’ salaries.

On Ekwueme, Prof. Laz Ekwueme, representative of the family and the community, who spoke to State House correspondents after the visit, said they were at the presidential villa to thank the President and federal government for the support and assistance rendered to the family. “The federal government was gracious enough to give him a befitting state burial. So, we have come as family, his spouse, children, members of the family and cabinet of Oko community and other chiefs and friends, to say thank you to Mr President,” he said.

Also on Thursday, the President commiserated with the family members, the government and people of Katsina State on the demise of former Inspector General of Police (IG) and Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmadu Coomassie.

President Buhari addresses the nation on May 29, on the occasion of the 2018 Democracy Day celebration
President Muhammadu Buhari condoles with the government and people of Katsina State on the demise of former Inspector General of Police (IG) and Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmadu Coomassie

The President, according to Malam Garba Shehu, said he received the news of the death of the Chairman of ACF with shock and deep sense of loss. “Nigeria will never forget the excellent leadership the late Coomassie gave to the Nigeria Police Force for the many years he served as IG,” the President said.

On Thursday night, the President received members of the Parliamentary Support Group at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, the Chairman of the group, Musa Sarkin Adar said the group had discussed various issues confronting the nation ahead of the 2019 general elections.

“We looked at the concerns within the country and the various political parties because election is approaching and we members of APC in the National Assembly felt that it is necessary to come and interface with Mr President and the national chairman of the party to address issues and concerns raised by members across the federation,” he said.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo chaired the 90th meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), held on Thursday, July 19, at the State House Executive Council Chambers.

National Economic Council (NEC) meeting
(L-R) Vice President Prof Osinbajo; Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah; Comptroller-General of Customs Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) and Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed at a National Economic Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja

In a statement released by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media, Mr Laolu Akande, the council deliberated on the need for collaborative partnerships between the Federal and State Governments with the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation (PCFRR) for immediate intervention on flood prevention, mitigation and preparedness in the Country. 

The council also deliberated on the issue of Prisons decongestion, the impact of the National MSMEs Clinics and the state of the Excess Crude Account and related financial matters.

On Friday, July 20, the Presidency strongly criticised some leaders who recently faulted the way President Muhammadu Buhari is handling the nation’s security challenges, describing them as selfish leaders. 

In a statement, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said it considered the communiqué issued by some socio-cultural organisations accusing Buhari’s administration of incompetence in handling the security situation in the country, “as the shedding of crocodile tears by selfish leaders.”

Garba Shehu:
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, criticised some leaders who recently faulted the way the President is handling the nation’s security challenges

Shehu claimed that the leaders felt alienated after a transparent and accountable system “halted their disproportionate survival on resources of the state.”

President Buhari, while receiving the outgoing High Commissioner of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Her Excellency, Mrs Haja Afsatu Kabba, in the Presidential Villa, said it is a thing of joy for Nigeria to lend a helping hand to any African country in distress.

According to the President the brotherly assistance extended to the West African country during the Ebola epidemic and the recent mudslide natural disaster, was the least Nigeria could do.

The President also hosted members of the Buhari Support Group Centre (BSGC) at the State House during which he explained that he made his intention to contest the 2019 Presidential Elections known early in order to douse rising speculations and give the party, All Progressives Congress (APC), enough time to prepare for the polls.

“I had to announce before the National Executive Committee of our party about my intention to ask for the party’s nomination for next year’s election so that we can save a lot of time and cool tempers.

“A lot of people were trying to make it a habit of being a nuisance to themselves and many Nigerians, so when I came out I said those who are serious let them come out,” he said.

Also on Friday, July 20, the Vice President chaired the meeting of the Industrial Policy, Competitiveness and Advisory Council.

The meeting deliberated on how to address the worrisome issue of smuggling and the need to close the border, the proposed MSMEs financing model, the technology skills acquisition plan amongst others.

The Vice President also met behind closed doors with the visiting Liberian Vice President, Jewel Taylor and a delegation from the UK Department for International Development led by the Secretary of State, Penny Morduant.  

The Vice President also left for Lagos to undertake an assessment of the traffic situation in Apapa and environs, before leaving for an official trip to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

Read also: Presidential Villa roundup from July 8 to July 14, 2018


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