President Muhammadu Buhari’s activities in the Presidential Villa for the week started on Sunday, Oct. 21 when he paid tribute to the late former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, GCON.
In a statement issued by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, Buhari said the eminent jurist will be long remembered and honoured for his visionary roles and contributions in the advances our country has made towards building a strong, independent and impartial judiciary, which is sine qua non for democracy to thrive.
On Monday, Oct. 22, President Buhari received the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirants and members of the party from the three senatorial zones of Kwara State at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to a statement from Adesina, President Buhari during his interaction with his party members went down memory lane recollecting the loyalty of his former deputy, the late Maj. Gen. Tunde Idiagbon (retd.) and describing it as a rare example worthy of emulation.
“The late Maj.-Gen. Tunde Idiagbon was a very rare example of what loyalty to the fatherland and to a superior should be. Tunde was strong, loyal and extremely committed to the cause of positively changing the narrative about Nigeria, which the administration set out to do at that time,” he said.
Buhari thanked the APC stakeholders for the position they had taken to continue to support the party regardless of the outcome of the primaries and assured them that, with the unity displayed so far, the APC would form the government in Kwara State after the 2019 elections.
Also on Monday, President Buhari inaugurated the committee saddled with the responsibility of assessing the impact and readiness for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
The presidential committee has the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, as its chairman, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, as co-chairman.
In his remarks, the President recalled that a few months ago, he directed a nationwide stakeholders’ engagement on the AfCFTA to understand the true impact of the agreement on Nigeria and Nigerians, considering the existing domestic and regional policies relating to trade.
The President said Nigeria could not afford to go back to the days of signing agreements without understanding and planning for the consequences of such actions.
President Buhari was in Seme-Krake joint border post between Nigeria and Benin Republic on Tuesday, Oct. 23, where he jointly inaugurated the new border post with his Benin Republic counterpart, Patrice Talon.
In his remarks, the President pledged that Nigeria will work closely with the Republic of Benin to ensure the success of the newly inaugurated Seme-Krake joint border post.
The president described the project, aimed at enhancing the free movement of persons and goods in the region, as “a symbol of integration that brings together the peoples of Nigeria and Benin.”
On Wednesday, Oct. 24, President Buhari presided over a meeting of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC).
In his briefing to State House correspondents, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, said FEC approved the 2019-2021 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
The council also approved the government’s proposal of N8.73tn for the 2019 budget, which is N400bn lower than that of the current fiscal year.
The Minister said with the approval, the MTEF and FSP would be sent to the National Assembly.
At the Presidential Villa on Wednesday night, President Buhari hosted to a dinner some young political appointees and volunteers of his administration.
In his remarks, the President criticised the Nigerian media for not giving his administration the credit for the ongoing agricultural revolution in the country.
“I’m very disappointed in the Nigerian press. They didn’t give this government the credit of the “Go back to the land” programme. We have cut down the importation of rice by at least 90 per cent,” the President said.
On Thursday, Oct. 25, President Buhari commissioned the new terminal of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, River State.
In his remarks at the event, the President said the Federal Government’s removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) from domestic air travels will reduce air fares, enable speedy movement of more people and spur business activities that will stimulate the economy.
According to him the removal of VAT from domestic air transportation is in line with global best practices of making air transportation affordable, which will subsequently lead to the creation of more jobs by the air transport service value chain.
On Friday, Oct. 26, President Buhari received the Chairman of the African Union Commission, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, during which he said the greatest investment Europe and America can make in Africa now is helping the continent accomplish inter-basin water transfer to recharge the Lake Chad.
President Buhari noted that the Lake Chad, which provided a means of livelihood to several millions of people in four countries – Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria – has now been reduced to ten per cent of its originate size, due to the impact of climate change.
The President also received representatives of Trade Associations from the 36 states and the FCT led by the National Coordinator, Prince Paul Ikonne.
The President reaffirmed that his administration will sustain the delivery of quality infrastructure across the country for investments and businesses to thrive, adding that he will continue to do his best to ensure that the country is safe and secure for everybody.
Meanwhile, in a meeting with representatives of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) led by its president, Mr Babatunde Ruwase, at the Presidential Villa, President Buhari explained his decision to inaugurate a Presidential Committee Monday this week to assess the potential costs and impact of the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for Nigeria.
The President said: “Nigeria is too big and too diverse to blindly sign agreements without understanding the consequences of such actions.
“Nigeria is still assessing the impact of this agreement on its backward integration and import substitution policies.”
Read also: Presidential Villa roundup from Oct. 7 to Oct. 13, 2018