Drama In Aso Villa As FG Justifies Buhari’s Foreign Trips

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It was nothing short of a melodrama at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, between State House correspondents and the Federal Government over the many foreign trips of President Muhammadu Buhari during a press briefing.

Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information, who justified the trips, said they were necessary to bring the country back on the track of development and growth. According to him, Nigeria was a pariah state under former President Goodluck Jonathan.

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.

Mohammed spoke during a press briefing at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting in Abuja. He 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.

Journalists had waited patiently to be briefed on the outcome of the Federal Executive Meeting, FEC, which routinely meets to take decision on matters of government. As usual, yesterday’s meeting was chaired by president Buhari with his vice, professor Yemi Osinabjo and most of the 36 ministers in attendance.

By a little after midday, the meeting had ended with the Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed, his counterpart in Environment, Amina Mohammed in company with Minister of State for Environment, Usman Ibrahim come into the press gallery inside the villa to brief Journalists.

The briefing was reduced to a two item issue: Climate change and President’s many foreign trips so far, anchored by the Minister of Environment.

Done with the briefing, journalists felt that there were more pressing issues at the moment such as the fall of Naira and 2016 budget, amongst others which an important body as FEC should have dwelt on other than reviewing or deliberating on climate change.

Apparently surprised by the insistence and probing question, Information Minister Mohammed, said he was embarrassed and shocked, noting that Nigerians needed to know the benefits of the presidential trips.

Meanwhile, Vanguard learned that President Buhari is due for more foreign trips on Friday and early next week.

He is likely to leave Abuja on Friday for Egypt, return on Saturday and leave for Saudi Arabia and Qatar early next week.

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