This week’s activities in the Presidential Villa started on Monday, July 23, in office of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo when he received the 2018 Strategic Report from participants of the National Defence College.
The event which took place at the Presidential Villa Abuja saw Osinbajo assuring participants that the Federal Government would incorporate some of the recommendations in the implementation of policies and programmes.
On Tuesday, July 24, President Muhammadu Buhari and his Nigerien counterpart, Mahmadou Issoufou witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of crude oil export to Niger and the construction of refinery facilities in Katsina State.
The signing marked the beginning of activities of the week for President Buhari.
The President also inaugurated the Steering and Technical committees for the Niger-Nigeria hydrocarbon pipeline and refinery projects.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, President Buhari said “Nigeria sees this cooperation on crude oil export from the Republic of Niger and construction of refinery facilities in Katsina State as a “win-win” for both nations.”
Following the gale of defections that hit the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the National Assembly on Tuesday, President Buhari issued a statement pledging his total commitment to the values of democracy, freedom of choice as well as total willingness to work with all members of the National Assembly, irrespective of their political party, for the benefit of the nation.
The President wished the defectors well in their future undertakings, noting that none of the defecting federal lawmakers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had any specific grievances against him or the government he leads; neither did he harbour anything against any of them.
Similarly, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media & Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, weighed in on the invitation of the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, by the Police over the Offa robbery incident where over 30 people were killed.
Shehu criticised the “orchestrated campaigns against President Muhammadu Buhari” whenever a Very Important Person is invited by the law enforcement agencies in the discharge of their legitimate duties.
Shehu said: “It is odd, strange and bizarre that while ordinary citizens can be called up to answer questions or be interrogated, the VIP cannot be questioned without the annoying insinuations of partisanship, persecution or outright politicisation.
This country cannot achieve development in peace when important cases are viewed through political prisms and the law is considered as being applicable to some, and not applicable to others.”
Also on Tuesday, the Vice President met behind closed doors with the IG of Police and other officials of government to discuss security issues around the country.
On Wednesday, July 25, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated a former Inspector-General of Police, Musiliu Smith, as the new chairman of the Police Service Commission.
The inauguration took place at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja shortly before the commencement of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council.
The President also inaugurated other members of the commission, including Justice Clara Ogunbiyi; retired AIG Lawal Bawa; Mohammed Najatu, Braimoh Austin, Rommy Mom and Dr Nkemka Jombo-Ofo.
President Buhari also inaugurated Festus Okoye, as a National Electoral Commissioner in the Independent Electoral Commission, representing South East.
Later after FEC, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu told State House Correspondents that FEC approved the sum of N977million for the argumentation of the revised estimated total cost for the completion of Mangu water supply project in Plateau State.
He explained that the project was started in 2012, recalling that between 2014 and 2016, there was no budgetary allocation.
Also speaking, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said his ministry presented two memos, one of which was for the purchase of medical and laboratory equipment for NPA at a total sum of N103.717, 845 million.”
Also on Wednesday, President Buhari received President Patrice Talon of the Republic of Benin during which the two leaders agreed to constitute a joint committee to combat smuggling.
A statement by the president’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Niger Republic would also be consulted in the workings of the committee, which he said would be a transit point in the concentric circle of smuggling of commodities, particularly rice, into Nigeria.
Adesina quoted the president as saying “we have succeeded in cutting the importation of rice into the country by about 90 per cent,” noting however, that smuggled parboiled rice still finds its way into the country and consequently vitiating the efforts of the government and discouraging farmers.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo joined President Buhari and other cabinet members for the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, July 25.
Later on Wednesday, the Vice President met with the United Nations high-level delegation on counter-terrorism led by Ms. Michele Coninsx, UN Assistant Secretary General Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED).
She was accompanied on the visit by Vladimir Voronkov, the UN Under-Secretary General, Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), and Nigeria’s Minister of Justice & Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami SAN.
On Thursday, July 26, President Buhari delivered the keynote address at the graduation of Senior Course 40 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State.
In his remarks, the President urged Nigerians to resist the tendency of blaming leaders only for the country’s state of affairs. Buhari said, “The change we desire in Nigeria actually starts with us as individuals.
“In Nigeria, there is the tendency to lay the blame for the state of affairs in the country on the doorsteps of the leaders alone. Yes, leaders have a major role to play in providing direction and the enabling environment. However, the citizens’ role also is vital in attaining meaningful transformation of any society,” he said.
The President also assured Nigerians of his administration’s commitment to return the country to the path of peace and prosperity.
Still on Thursday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo declared open a conference on co-creation with the theme “catalyst for innovation” and organised by Venia Business Hub, Lagos.
In his remark at the event, the Vice President said the future of work is by co-creation, creativity and collaboration.
According to him, “We are no longer looking at the age of the lone wolf for the isolated inventor, but collaborative innovation where ideas are shared, developed and refined collaboratively.
“In this age of knowledge economy, it is co-working and co-creation that will define the way we work, progress and output.”
Also on Thursday, in Lagos, the Vice President attended the opening of the Google for Nigeria event.
In his keynote address, the Vice President said that in the course of time, Africa’s fortunes would shape the world, noting that the current century is Africa’s century.
According to him, “Because Africa will, for good or ill, play the defining role in global development. Africa’s fortunes will matter across all the trends shaping the world.
“I say for good or for ill because either scenario is possible. If Africa fails on these important development issues, because of our sheer size, the global impact will be catastrophic and if it succeeds the global impact will be incredible.
“Technology has put great power into our hands, as individuals, but more importantly as co-creators and collaborators, to positively and dramatically change the course of human existence.
“With it, we can solve many of the problems that confront us,” the Vice President said.
Still in Lagos, the Vice President undertook another inspection tour of the clearance operation around the Apapa port and environs to ascertain the traffic situation.
On Friday, July 27, President Buhari received in farewell audience outgoing Ambassador of Republic of Finland Ambassador Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury and outgoing Ambassador of France, Denys Gauer.
In his remarks to the French ambassador, the President lauded the French government for its commitment to strengthen regional cooperation in the fight against cross-border crime and terrorism.
Appreciating the roles and contributions of the French government to peace, security and stability in countries in the West and Central African region, the President noted that Nigeria has placed the issue of combating terrorism in the region on international agenda.
He added that Nigeria has received support and solidarity from France in the area of training, information, intelligence sharing, technical and equipment support.
The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo attended the THISDAY Policy Dialogue Series tagged: “Improving Nigeria’s health outcomes in numbers”, on Friday, July 27.
In his remark at the event, the Vice President said the Federal Government would go beyond budget to fund healthcare in Nigeria, noting that government intends to pursue national insurance scheme to improve healthcare funding.
According to Prof. Osinbajo, “It is important that we must bear in mind that budgeting no matter how much it is, will not be enough, because we simply do not have the resources.
“This is why it is important that we take seriously, the National Health Insurance Scheme.
“For us as a government, it is an important policy initiative and we intend to implement it. I am pleased to see that several States are already implementing State Health Insurance Schemes.”
He said: “But the National Health Insurance Scheme is a very important one in order to be able to provide the funding that our healthcare services desperately need.”
On Saturday, July 28, the Presidency announced that President Buhari will travel to Lome, the capital of Togo, on Sunday to attend the Joint ECOWAS/ECCAS Summit on Security.
According to a statement issued by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, the President will in the course of his visit to Togo meet with the Nigerian community in the country.
In Lome, the President will also join other West African leaders for the 53rd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.
Read also: Presidential Villa roundup from July 15 to July 21, 2018