By Levinus Nwabughiogu
…justifies Buhari’s foreign trips
ABUJA – It was nothing short of a melodrama at the presidential villa, Abuja Wednesday between the State House Correspondents and the Federal Government over the many foreign trips of President Mohammed Buhari during a press briefing.
Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information who justified the trips said that they were necessary to bring the country on back on the track of development and growth, saying that Nigeria was a pariah state under the former president Goodluck Jonathan.
He said that under Jonathan’s watch, corruption permeated country such that foreign investors deserted it.
He stated that it was necessary to tell Nigerians who had been inquisitive of the many Buhari’s trips to know that the trips had started paying off as the investors’ confidence in the country had been restored.
Mohammed spoke during a press briefing at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting at the presidential villa, Abuja.
He said “You do not run a country by 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 no body can fault this president for is his determination and strength of purpose in resolving these matters. So, Mr. President’s presence in many of these fora is highly crucial even in fixing our economy back at home.”
Asked to expatiate on what he meant by “pariah state” in the light of the fact that the former administration of Jonathan praised itself for growing the economy, a feat that led to the rebasing of the economy to lift Nigeria’s status to the largest economy in the African subregion, Mohammed insisted that foreign investors ran away from Nigeria
He said: “What I mean by Nigeria is a pariah state before now is simply that before now the level of corruption was so high that no body was ready to risk his investment in Nigeria. The cost of doing business was so high that most international business people did not want to come here.
“And of course, who wants to come to a country where there is insecurity to invest? And these are the issues that the president has addressed in the last few months. So, this is what I meant by before now we are almost a pariah state.”
Mohammed’s counter-part in Environment, Amina Mohammed corroborated the position saying that the president’s 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.
She stated that president Buhari needed to do more of the trips to keep attracting worthwhile investments to Nigeria.
“The president has a cabinet and the cabinet stays with the Vice President as much as possible to try to address those challenges. The investments that we make with the President’s travels are well worth already the returns that we are getting from these visits. We hope to continue president going out and advocating for this country to get more investments so that we can take everyone out of poverty. So, that is an important thing and we see an investment that is worthwhile”, she said.