Buhari returns from his 19th trip abroad in 2022
President Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) returned from Washington DC, United States, on Sunday morning after a week-long participation in the US-Africa Leaders Summit.
Buhari’s official plane landed at the presidential wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, in the early hours of Sunday morning, bringing the total number of overseas trips made in 2022 to at least 19.
Countries visited so far include Rwanda (June), Equatorial Guinea (May), Guinea Bissau (December), Niger (December), United States (September and December), United Kingdom (March and November), United Arab Emirates (May). , Liberia (July), South Korea (October), Ghana (June), Portugal (June), Spain (May), Belgium (February), Ethiopia (February), Kenya (March), Ivory Coast (May) and Senegal (July).
In between, the president and his vice president have been out of the country at the same time at least three times in the past two months, The PUNCH observed.
In his first speech at the US-Africa Leaders Summit, the President of Nigeria reaffirmed the Federal Government‘s commitment to generate 30 gigawatts of power by 2030.
Buhari noted that Nigeria became the first African country to develop a detailed Energy Transition Plan to address both energy poverty and climate change.
Consequently, he sought US support in getting Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan done, which he said required at least N10bn/yr to finance.
During the Just Energy Transition panel discussion, Buhari cited recent analysis showing that delivering the Energy Transition Plan requires spending of $1.9 trillion through 2060, including $410 billion above business-as-usual spending.
This additional funding requirement, he explained, translates to an investment of $10 billion per year.
In his second speech, the president warned his fellow African leaders that unconstitutional regime change, terrorism and the effects of climate change on the continent may undermine the ability of their states to achieve Agenda 2063.
Speaking on the topic, Partnership in Agenda 2063: A Peaceful and Secure Africa, Buhari, however, expressed his hope that these threats would not overcome the shared unity of purpose among all member states.
He urged member states to quell the resurgence of conflicts in their regions through inclusive governance, constitutionalism and strengthening the African Union’s conflict prevention and mediation support mechanisms.
In an interactive session on Friday titled A Conversation with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, the president said he had given the Independent National Election Commission the necessary resources to run the 2023 election smoothly.
Therefore, I would not consider excuses from the political arbitrator on the basis of insufficient funds.
“I made sure they got all the resources they asked for because I don’t want any excuse that the government denied them the funds,” Buhari said in response to a question about INEC‘s preparation for the 2023 elections at the co-sponsored event. by the United States Institute of Peace, the International Republican Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
Buhari also warned Western nations against issuing “frivolous” travel advisories on Nigeria, urging international media to be more objective in their reporting on the country.
In the bilateral scenario, Nigeria signed two agreements on space exploration and clean energy.
On the first day of the summit, Nigeria, along with Rwanda, became the first African nations to sign the Artemis Accords.
According to a statement issued by the United States Department of State, “The agreements were signed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and by the Executive Director of the Space Agency of Rwanda, Francis Ngabo, on behalf of the Republic of Rwanda.”
The Artemis Accords represent a bold and multilateral vision for the future of space exploration. The current 23 signatories commit to the principles to guide their civilian space activities, including the publication of scientific data, responsible debris mitigation, registration of space objects, and the establishment and implementation of interoperability standards.
On the second day, the Nigerian Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment signed a clean and reliable energy agreement with Sun Africa LLC, the largest US renewable energy company operating in Africa.
The agreement earmarked at least 360 rural communities and another 16 nationwide for the construction of 5,000MW of solar power generation plants and 2,500MWh of battery energy storage plants.
The first phase of the project scheduled for Q1 2023 includes: Gwagwalada, FCT (143 MWp PV size and 68 MWh energy storage); Gombe, Gombe State (270 MWp PV size and 128 MWh energy storage); Lafia, Nasarawa State (350 MWp PV size and 166 MWh energy storage); Geregu, Kogi State (174 MWp PV size and 82 MWh energy storage) and Ihovbor, Edo State (24 MWp PV size and 11 MWh energy storage).
The president returns amid disputes between state governors, lawmakers and the Central Bank of Nigeria over the N20,000 daily cash withdrawal limits imposed by the latter.