The weekly events of President Muhammadu Buhari began on Sunday, July 8 when he commended the Government of Thailand and international volunteers in the current efforts to rescue 12 children and their coach trapped in a cave for more than two weeks, with imminent risks of starvation and death.
Reacting to ongoing rescue efforts which are already yielding positive results, President Buhari said Thailand has inspired other developing nations that, despite limited resources, a people can achieve success through their efforts towards emergency response.
All 12 boys and their football coach were successfully rescued, afterwards, from the cave after more than two weeks trapped underground.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo departed Nigeria for a 4-day working visit to the United State of America on Sunday July 8.
According to a statement released by Mr Laolu Akande, the Vice President’s media aide, “Prof. Osinbajo would address global technology & entertainment leaders at U.S. Silicon Valley & Hollywood, during the visit.”
He added that the Vice President “will be leading a public-private sector collaborative investment road-show to the United States, where he will be speaking to global industry leaders in information technology and entertainment at the Silicon Valley in San Francisco and Hollywood in Los Angeles, California”
He was also joined on the investment road-show by members of the recently inaugurated Advisory Group on Technology and Creativity – an integral part of the National Industrial Policy & Competitiveness Advisory Council – primarily to showcase the continued improvement in Nigeria’s business environment to entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders in both American cities.
The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was at the Google headquarters on Monday July 9, and was welcomed by CEO Sundar Pichai who led a team of executives in a meeting with the VP and other officials.
He was also hosted in a series of investment forums in Silicon Valley interacting with key U.S. technology firms promoting Nigeria tech firms, and speaks at LinkedIn Fireside Chat with Co-Founder Allen Blue, when he visited the company’s headquarters in Silicon Valley.
He was accompanied by Dr Okey Enelemah; Ambassador Adeyemi Dipeolu and other top government officials. There were sessions with investors, Fund Managers and large U.S. technology companies, as well as presentations by the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), the Bank of Industry (BOI), and the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat.
On Tuesday, July 10, President Buhari was in Ado Ekiti for the All Progressive Congress (APC) Grand Finale mega rally for Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
The President while urging the people of Ekiti to vote for the APC Gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Saturday, July 14, enumerated key projects in road, housing and the social security sector executed by the APC Federal-led government in the State.
“I, therefore, call on Ekiti people! Don’t allow yourself to be insulted by stomach infrastructure. Your future and the future of the upcoming generations are in your hands today. Vote for APC and grow beyond Stomach Infrastructure,” he said.
Also on Tuesday July 10, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo attended an interactive investment forum on the Nigerian Creativity Sector in Hollywood, which was also attended by representatives from top U.S. entertainment firms like Paramount, Universal Studios, Fox, Disney, Warner Bros and several others today in Hollywood.
In attendance was also Nigeria top entertainers, artists, producers, directors, like Mo Abudu of Ebony LifeTV; Mrs Bolanle Austin Peters; Tu Face Idibia; Sesan Ogunro; Laolu Senbanjo; and others.
The weekly Federal Executive Council meeting held on Wednesday, July 11, and was presided over by President Buhari.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, disclosed that FEC approved N35.6 billion for reconstruction of roads and bridge in some parts of the country.
The Minister said N8.9 billion of the amount was approved for the construction of Ikom bridge and road in Calabar, Cross River, N11.78 billion for Nguru –Gashua – Balmari road in Yobe State, N8.6 billion for Ilorin – Kishi road in Kwara State while N5.4 billion was approved for a road project in Abia State.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who fielded a question on the controversy surrounding NYSC exemption certificate of the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said the Federal Government had already responded to the allegation via statement from the NYSC.
He said: “The government has spoken. NYSC is part of government and I have nothing to add to what the NYSC has said.”
Later on Wednesday, President Buhari received in audience President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa at the State House.
Speaking at a joint press conference with the visiting President, President Buhari gave an indication that he will soon sign the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement.
The President had earlier suspended the signing to allow for more consultations on the part of the government. “I am very careful about what I sign whether it is my chequebook or agreements especially when it involves nation states.
“As your (South African President) has said, we are so populated and have so many young unemployed citizens and our industries are just coming up.
“So, in trying to guarantee employment, goods and services in our country, we have to be careful with agreements that will compete maybe successfully against our upcoming industries.
“I was presented with the document. I am a very slow reader maybe because I am an ex-soldier. I didn’t read it fast enough before my officials saw that it was all right for signature. I kept it on my table. I will soon sign it,” he said.
Also on Wednesday, the President in a statement issued by Mallam Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity, President Muhammadu Buhari congratulated the board, management, staff and shareholders of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas company (NLNG), the NNPC and other Joint Venture partners, Shell, Total and AGIP on the signing of the contracts for the Front End Engineering Design (FFED) of Train 7 of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Project.
The President welcomed the signing of an MOU between NLNG, “B7 JV Consortium” and “SCD JV Consortium”, on Wednesday in London, which paves the way for the additional Train 7 that would increase the country’s gas production output from 22 million tonnes per annum to 30 metric million tonnes per annum.
On Wednesday, the Presidency issued a statement quoting President Buhari as condemning the killing of several people, including a district head, in and around the village of Gandi in Rabah local government of Sokoto State by bandits.
“This wanton violence against innocent people won’t be tolerated by this government, and we are working round the clock to identify the people sponsoring these heartless attacks,” the President said.
On Thursday, July 12, President Buhari inaugurated the first phase of the Abuja light rail mass transit, covering 12 stations within the metropolis.
In his remarks at the event, the President promised the Federal Government’s support for the negotiations towards the completion of the second phase of the rail system.
The 1435-milimetre standard gauge project which is the first of its kind in West Africa, covers the total length of 45.3 kilometres. The President inaugurated the project constructed at the revised fee of $824 metres at the Abuja Metro Station.
“Today, what we have in the FCT is evidence that we are a government that delivers on its promises. I have observed keenly other milestones that this administration has achieved, especially in the areas of education, public utilities and infrastructure development,” Buhari said.
Later on Thursday, President Buhari condoled with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the loss of lives in the flood and landslides following last week’s torrential rains, describing it as an “unprecedented weather disaster.
In a letter he wrote following the sad incident, President Buhari said that the thoughts and sympathy of the government and People of Nigeria are with the people of Japan as they tackle the fallout of the tragic incident.
Later, while receiving the outgoing Ambassador of Belarus, Vyacheslav Beskosty, who has spent over six years in Nigeria as the pioneer Ambassador of his country, the President lauded educational ties between Nigeria and Belarus.
The President noted that education is the veritable doorway through which the boundless potentials of youths can be positively harnessed for the benefit of society, and the country at large.
“I am impressed by your successful tour of duty, particularly in the area of educational ties between our countries. Over 600 young Nigerians are in your country, trying to guarantee a better future for themselves through education,” President Buhari said.
The President also met with the Board of African Export and Import Bank, AFREXIM, led by Dr Benedict Okey, where he called for stronger partnership with lending banks to reduce the nation’s infrastructure deficit.
The President assured the Board of the Bank of his administration’s full commitment to implement all agreements, adding that the Federal Government will keep “knocking on the doors” of the banks to participate more in building infrastructure and developing the real sector.
Vice President Osinbajo returned back to Nigeria on Thursday July 12, after the working visit to the U.S.
A statement issued by the Vice President’s media aide, Laolu Akande said, the Vice President reiterated government’s commitment to the protection of intellectual property, investments in Nigeria.
He said: “the Federal Government is determined to ensure needed regulations are in place to stimulate the growth of the country’s entertainment and creative industries, including the protection of Intellectual Property and investment guarantees.
“We understand how dynamic the environment is, both technology and creative arts. But we think that the way to go will be to work with those who are actually in the industry, those like yourselves who are putting in their money, their resources, time, and energy into this, and trying to do our regulations in such a way that we are competitive practically with anyone else in the world.
“So what we have done so far is that we’ve been looking at what the specific issues are, and there are quite a few. There are those who want to know about what we are doing in terms of Intellectual Property protection, investment guarantee, and all of that.
“But I think that the most important thing really, is that we have a government and a lot of those who work in our agencies who are determined to work through this, day by day, piece by piece to make sure that we get our environment right, and we get the right type of investment environment.”
On Friday, July 13, the Presidency clarified that Pastor Tunde Bakare of Latter Rain Assembly and Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun didn’t meet with President Buhari.
In a statement by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President, Media & Publicity, said stories with insinuations that the trio met are far from the truth.
“The Minister was at the Presidential Villa in connection with the Annual General Meeting and 25th Anniversary Celebration of African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK) holding Saturday in Abuja, which would be graced by President Buhari. She ran into Pastor Bakare, who was on a scheduled visit to see the President, and they exchanged pleasantries.
“The cleric particularly thanked the Minister for finding time to attend his mother’s funeral, which took place in Abeokuta, Ogun State, penultimate weekend. Mrs Adeosun had seen President Buhari not fewer than three times earlier in the week, and did not need to meet with him again on Friday,” Adesina explained.
Later, media quoted Bakare as saying that he met with President Buhari in the Presidential Villa to thank him for dispatching a high profile delegation to the funeral of his mother penultimate weekend.
Bakare emphasised that he did not meet with the president along with the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, as widely reported by different media platforms.
Also on Friday July 13, the Vice President attended the 70th birthday thanksgiving service of the wife of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Mrs Folu Adeboye, at the RCCG Redemption Camp, Lagos-Ibadan Road.
Prof. Osinbajo in his remarks at the occasion eulogised the celebrant, saying she is a model worthy of emulation.
President Buhari declared open the 2018 Annual General Meeting and 25th anniversary of AFREXIM Bank at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, on Saturday, July 14.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the AGM, Buhari noted that Africa’s journey to prosperity can only be achieved by supporting inclusive and sustainable projects.
On the much anticipated Nigeria’s signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), President Buhari said his administration will work towards a fair trade agreement with the rest of the continent.
“Significant progress has been made in these consultations. The team has met key stakeholders across our six geo-political zones.
“The responses have been diverse as would be expected. However, one clear message has emerged, which is that any trade agreement must be both free and fair. This fairness is achievable and we will work towards it,” he said.
Later on Saturday, the Presidency announced that President Buhari will embark on a working visit to the Netherlands during which he will attend the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, in The Hague.
The President is also scheduled to meet with the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during his visit to The Hague.
Read also: Presidential Villa roundup from July 1 to July 7, 2018