There was drama at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, between State House correspondents and the Federal Government over the frequent foreign trips of President Muhammadu Buhari during a press briefing. The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, justified the trips, said they were necessary to bring the country back on the track of development and growth.He said that under Jonathan’s watch, corruption permeated the country, such that foreign investors deserted it. He stated that it was necessary to tell Nigerians that the trips had started paying off since investors’ confidence in the country had been restored.
Mr. Mohammed, and the Minister for Environment, Amina Mohammed, who spoke to journalists after the Federal Executive Council meeting, said the trips were meant to attract investments to Nigeria.
Mr. Mohammed said: “You do not run a country by being isolated. The personal presence of Mr. President in many of these fora is important because before now, we were almost a pariah state. And the issues that have been driving investments away from this country are terrorism and corruption.”
“One thing that nobody can fault this President for is his determination and strength of purpose in resolving these matters. “Mr. President’s presence in many of these fora is highly crucial even in fixing our economy back at home.”
Amina Mohammed, corroborated the position, saying the President needed not to run the country by staying at home, especially when he had a deputy and a cabinet of ministers to look after home affairs.
“Before now the level of corruption was very high that nobody was ready to risk his investment in Nigeria. The cost of doing business was so high that most international businessmen didn’t want to come here. Who is coming to invest in a country where there is insecurity?
President Buhari has been criticised lately for his frequent foreign trips at a time the nation faces severe economic troubles.
Since assuming office in May 2015, he had made at least 19 trips to 14 countries.
The environment minister, Ms. Mohammed, also added that “investments” secured by President Buhari justified the trips.
“We hope to see the president going out and advocating for this country to get more investment so that we can take everyone out of poverty. That is really what is important. We see it as an investment with a return worthwhile,” she said.
She said the country will get back on track once the 2016 budget is passed by the National Assembly.
Culled from Premiumtimes
19 trips to 14 countries in 9 months?