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Buhari, only African leader invited for State Visit to Spain in 17 years

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By ISMAILA CHAFE

President Muhammadu Buhari

ABUJA- President Muhammadu Buhari, in the course of the week under review, was on a State Visit at the invitation of the Spanish President, Pedro Sanchez.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigerian leader was also the Special Guest of the Head of State of the Spanish nation, His Majesty King Felipe VI.

NAN reports that available information at the Nigerian Embassy in Spain indicated that President Buhari, who officially visited Spain for the first time since the inception of his administration seven years ago, is the only leader received on State Visit by tge Spanish authorities in the lasf 17 years.

While in Madrid, Buhari met with President Pedro Sanchez as well as the Spanish monarch, His Majesty King Felipe VI, on Wednesday.

At the meeting with President Sanchez, Nigeria and Spain signed nine Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding covering a Treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and the transfer of sentenced persons and extradition.

Others were on economic and commercial cooperation, tourism, sports, health, the fight against COVID-19 and science and innovation.

On Thursday, President Buhari attended a Political and Business Leaders Forum, jointly organised by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, the Ministry of Trade, and the Confederation of Employers.

At the meeting, the Nigerian leader alerted European countries to look toward Africa for solution to the resources supply challenges currently facing the global economy.

He also challenged Spanish investors to take advantage of Nigeria’s tax-free environment and limitless expatriate quota at the nation’s Free Trade Zones to boost Nigerian-Spanish trade and economic opportunities.

According to him, for quite a number of decades, Spain has been one of Nigeria’s most important trade partners.

He said Spain had been a major importer of Nigeria’s crude oil, noting that Nigeria’s exports to Spain stood at 4.8 billion dollars in 2020 whilst Spain’s exports to Nigeria increased from 97.2 million dollars in 1995 to 517 million dollars in 2020.

Also on Thursday, President Buhari hosted representatives of the Nigerian community in Spain, including professional footballers and some Spanish investors with interests in Nigeria.

He called on Nigerians pursuing legitimate businesses abroad to always invest wisely back home as part of their contributions towards transforming the nation’s economy.

The Diaspora team, which met with the president, included John Bosco, President of the Association of Nigerians in Spain and his deputy, Richard Omoregbe.

Others were Kenneth Omeruo Super Eagles international who plies his trade with Leganes FC, Madrid and Obinna Okafor, a football agent.

Some more others were Mohammed Bashir, a student of Aviation, Segun Adedoyin, studying Global Affairs and Bright Omorodion, a businessman.

Buhari told the compatriots, whom he described as ambassadors of Nigeria in Spain that he was informed about how law-abiding they had been in the European country.

The Nigerian leader had earlier in the week, May 29, attended the 16th African Union Extra-ordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union on Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa.

The Summit held  in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, Buhari endorsed recommendation on setting up an African Standby Force on Terrorism.

He also called on leaders to muster the political will that would fuel synergy, enhance intelligence gathering and bring more urgency in tackling violent crimes.

The Presidency  also reeled out 28-page of President Muhammadu Buhari’s strides in Oil and gas reforms, Digital economy, Mines and steel development, Agriculture, Education, Health, Creative Industry, Sports and infrastructural development; roads, bridges, rail, air and sea ports, housing, and many others.

The seven years milestone, according to the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, presents a major landmark and opportunity to review the service of the president to the country, and its people.

On May 31, President Buhari met behind closed door with members of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

At the meeting, the president charged the  governors to ensure that the forthcoming convention to pick a presidential candidate reflects all the values and virtues of the party.

Also on May 31, King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain  sent condolences to President Buhari on the recent tragedy in Port Harcourt, Rivers.

NAN reports that no fewer than 29 people were killed and others injured when a stampede broke out at a church event in Port Harcourt.

The police said most of the casualties were children.

President Buhari on June 4 in Accra, Ghana, attended the 6th Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State on the Political Situations in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea.

At the meeting, the Buhari called on ECOWAS leaders to revisit the report presented by former President Goodluck Jonathan, the ECOWAS Mediator on Mali, on a transition timetable for the West African country.

Buhari noted that Jonathan had recommended a 16- month transitional timeframe ‘‘as well as his further personal appeals and observations to us to give the military leadership in Mali up to 18 months for the conduct of elections, starting from March 2022.

The president concluded the week with a meeting with all APC Presidential Aspirants on Saturday night where he urged them to hold consultations, and come up with a formidable candidate before the party holds its primary election between June 6 and June 8.

The president said the meeting was a continuation of the ongoing consultative process aimed at ensuring a smooth and strategic emergence of a flag bearer.

According to him, such candidate will lead the APC to a resounding victory in the upcoming presidential polls. (NAN)

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