Buhari embarks on eighth foreign trip in five months

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday, embarked on a two-day state visit to Madrid, the capital city of Spain.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President’s visit is in response to an invitation by his Spanish counterpart, Pedro Sanchez.

While there, he would meet Head of State of the Spanish nation, King Felipe VI, and discuss issues of mutual interest to both countries, which will expectedly result in the signing of agreements and Memoranda of Understanding on a wide range of areas such as the extradition and transfer of convicted persons, mutual legal assistance, cultural matters, cooperation towards fighting crime and enhancing security, as well as issues affecting dependants of diplomatic staff.

“Also on the agenda are cooperation on energy, trade and investment, transportation, public health and sports development,” Adesina said.

The President is expected back in the country on Friday, days before the presidential primary elections of the All Progressives Congress.

With the trip, Buhari would have visited eight countries in the last five months.

He had in May visited the United Arabs Emirate where he paid a condolence visit to the country over the loss of its immediate past leader, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nayan; Equatorial Guinea, where he attended the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union; and the Ivory Coast, where he attended the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

Buhari also visited Brussels, Belgium in February when he joined other world leaders for the 6th European Union-African Union Summit; Nairobi Kenya in March, where he attended the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Environmental Programme; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in February for the 35th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Africa Union Heads of State and Government; and London, the United Kingdom in March, for a two-week medical check-up.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, however told our correspondents that there are many benefits inherent in all the trips.

“There are several takeaways from the President’s visits to these countries,” Shehu said.

On Buhari’s condolence visit to Abu Dhabi, he said “Nigeria has very strong economic and defence ties with the UAE.

“Flowing from this, they have helped us to curb illicit financial flows to the Boko Haram terrorist organisation. We have ongoing, a lot of military procurement, supplying our armed forces with seriously needed hardware.

“A few weeks ago, a brand-new warship for the Nigerian Navy was commissioned in Dubai and set sail to Nigeria. The Nigerian Army just procured 100 Mine Resistant Armoured Personnel Carriers from the UAE. I am confident this visit will boost the friendship between Nigeria and the UAE.”

On the Brussels trip in February on which he accompanied the President, Shehu said, “The meeting in Belgium was a show of friendship, camaraderie and equality between the two continents and with what we have seen from its outcomes, the EU-Africa Summit will be gaining gravitas.”

The presidential spokesman also highlighted the gains from the just-concluded AU summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

The spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Debo Ologunagba, could not be reached for comment as of the time of filing this report as he did not take the calls made to his telephone line.

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