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Buhari’s double-barrelled mission to Scotland to attract trillion-dollar investments

In a week of Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, Scotland in the United Kingdom, President Muhammadu Buhari also used the opportunity to voice his deep-rooted desires to boost Nigeria’s National Infrastructure Stock.

Buhari COP26
President Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari made his feelings known in Glasgow at the COP26 high-level side event on improving global infrastructure hosted by President Joe Biden of the United States, EU Commission President, Von Der Leyen, and the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on Nov. 2, 2021.

According to Nigerian leader, over $1.5 trillion is needed by Nigeria over a 10-year period, to achieve an appreciable level of the National Infrastructure Stock.

Buhari, who had earlier delivered his national statement at COP26 Leaders’ Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday, said: ‘‘My administration has established a clear legal and regulatory framework for private financing of infrastructure to establish a standard process, especially on the monitoring and evaluation process.

‘‘We look forward to working with you in this regard.’’

He also declared that his administration had taken infrastructure expansion in Nigeria seriously, conscious of the fact that new investments in critical sectors of the economy would aid lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.

‘‘There is a nexus between infrastructure development and the overall economic development of a nation.

‘‘My administration identified this early enough as a major enabler of sustainable economic development and the realisation of other continental and global development aspirations particularly the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.

‘‘On my assumption of office in 2015, Nigeria faced a huge infrastructure deficit and the total National Infrastructure Stock was estimated at 35% of our Gross Domestic Product.”

While delivering his national statement to world leaders, the President pledged that Nigeria would cut its emissions to net zero by 2060.

He said that attaining national and global climate change goals would require adequate and sustained technical and financial support to developing countries.

According to him, greater effort should be channelled towards assisting developing nations to meet their ‘‘Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) commitments through the pledges made by the developed countries to provide at least $100 billion yearly.’’

Buhari noted that easier access to climate finance had become imperative in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, which really battered the economies of developing countries.

‘‘I do not think anyone in Nigeria needs persuading of the need for urgent action on the environment.

‘‘Desertification in the North, floods in the centre, pollution and erosion on the coast are enough evidence.

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‘‘For Nigeria, climate change is not about the perils of tomorrow but what is happening today.

”Nigeria is committed to net zero by 2060.’’

The president had on Nov. 1 at an event, co-hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, the Prince of Wales, and the Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, maintained that ”Africa’s ambition of restoring over 100 million hectares of degraded landscape for productive agriculture is achievable”.

The president expressed optimism at the Climate Change Summit, COP26, side event on the Great Green Wall (GGW).

The Nigerian leader said it was noteworthy that the meeting was tailored towards ameliorating the problems of land degradation, desertification, depletion of the forest ecosystems and biodiversity in Africa.

The president, who was speaking on the theme of the event, “Accelerating land restoration in Africa, the case of the Great Green Wall initiative”, said: ‘‘With all hands on deck and concerted efforts at land restoration by African leaders, I am optimistic that Africa’s ambition of restoring over 100 million hectares of degraded landscape for productive agriculture is achievable.

‘‘Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to inform you that Nigeria will soon be assuming the leadership of Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall.”

American billionaire and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, had also on Nov. 1 in Glasgow, Scotland, commended Buhari’s leadership role in restoring degraded lands in the country.

Bezos described the commitment of the Nigerian leader to restore 4 million hectares as exemplary.

Bezos joined Buhari, French President Emmanuel Macron, Prince Charles and the Mauritanian President, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, at a COP26 side event entitled, “Accelerating land restoration in Africa, the case of the Great Green Wall (GGW) initiative”.

While heaping praises on the Nigerian leader at the event co-hosted by the French President, his Mauritanian counterpart and the Prince of Wales, the Amazon founder said: “We are fortunate to have President Buhari of Nigeria with us today.

“Nigeria plays a critical role in the restoration movement and has pledged to restore 4 million hectares of degraded lands.

“This kind of ambition coming from Africa’s largest economy underscores just how vital this issue is.”

The Bezos Earth Fund has $10 billion to allocate money to projects fighting climate change.

Before departing for the COP26 in Glasgow, Buhari had commiserated with families who lost loved ones in the 21-storey building collapse in Lagos.

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Buhari shared the sad moment with people and Government of Lagos State, calling on emergency institutions, including hospitals, to provide all the necessary support to safeguard the lives of the rescued.

The president had also hosted the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Bola Tinubu, at his official residence, State House, Abuja, on Oct. 31.

Speaking to State House correspondents after the closed door meeting, Tinubu dismissed the insinuation that he was in the Presidential Villa to discuss politics with the president.

He, however, stated that his Sunday’s mission to the seat of power was to thank Buhari for visiting him when he was recovering from a surgery at his residence in London.

He said: ”I came only to thank, first of all, the president for his visit to my residence in London when I was ……after the surgery, and wishing me well, lifting my spirit.

”Indeed, what an exceptional leader will do.

”That’s what I came for and to welcome him back from the trip from Saudi Arabia.

”No politics, just courtesy call, thanking him in a big way, that’s all.”

The president had on Aug. 13 visited the APC chieftain in London.

The president also received briefing from the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo, at the Presidential Villa on Sunday.

On Nov. 5, Buhari had expressed deep shock and grief over the killing of 69 people in Niger Republic by insurgents on the country’s common border with Mali and Burkina Fasso.

He said: ”This dastardly and callous attack on innocent people, including a mayor in Niger Republic, is a disturbing setback to the regional efforts to stem terrorist activities that have caused massive destructions in our countries.”

The president on Nov. 6 also condoled with the government and people of Sierra Leone, following the fuel tanker explosion in Freetown, the country’s capital, where at least 100 people were killed and many injured.

The tragic incident happened late on Friday when a fuel tanker exploded following a collision, and many people rushed to the scene to siphon petrol.

The Nigerian leader said: ”I’m anguished by the unfortunate loss of lives  and injury to so many.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had on Nov. 7 attended the meeting of the Nigeria-Cote d’Ivoire Binational Commission where he signed agreements with Ivorian Prime Minister, Patrick Achi.

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The signing of agreements was at the high level segment of the Second Session of the Nigeria-Cote d’Ivoire Bi-National Commission on Saturday in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

Osinbajo thanked Achi for his excellent leadership in hosting and co-steering the 2nd session of the Nigeria-Cote d’Ivoire Bi-National Commission to a successful outcome.

He said that Achi’s opening remarks were certainly very important for setting the tone and ensuring that objectives of the meeting were achieved.

The vice president also expressed gratitude to President Alhassane Ouattara for granting him and his delegation audience earlier and for giving both sides very wise and insightful guidance on how to deepen relations between the two countries.

“The Nigerian delegation on its part is quite happy with the outcomes especially the Agreements that we have signed on this occasion,” he added.

Buhari will this week pay an official visit to Paris, France, to reciprocate an earlier one to Nigeria by the French President, Emmanuel Macron, and also attend the Paris Peace Forum 2021.

The Paris Peace Forum will be the fourth edition to be hosted by the French President.

”It will have Heads of State and Government and CEOs of major multinationals as well as several civil society actors, gathering to advance concrete solutions to the enormous challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and to improve global governance in times of COVID-19.

”The Summit will focus on spurring a more solid and inclusive recovery by addressing the various gaps in global governance, offering initiatives to better tend to the global commons and putting forward new principles of action for the post-COVID world,” the president’s media aide, Malam Garba Shehu, had said in a statement.

He revealed that while the president is in Paris, the Nigerian government would organise the Nigeria-Paris Forum.

According to him, the event is expected to pull a crowd of Nigerian and French investors, government and business leaders, diplomats and the media in the hope of showcasing opportunities on both sides.

Shehu expressed optimism that the event would also bring enlightenment to bear on the prevailing security, economic and investment climate in Nigeria.

According to the presidential aide, Buhari is expected back in the country after the engagements.

By Ismaila Chafe

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