Author Topic: When PMB Visited Germany  (Read 307 times)

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Offline yungcrae

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, welcomes the President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari, left, for talks at the chancellery in Berlin, Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.. (Rainer Jensen, dpa via AP)Nigeria and Germany have enjoyed excellent relationship for 158 years. Nigeria is Germany’s most important business partner in Africa. German economy is the biggest economy in Europe while Nigeria is the biggest market in Africa- a marriage made in heaven. In the period of economic recession, Nigeria needs all the help she can get.

President Muhammadu Buhari, since assumption of office on May 29 last year, has enjoyed excellent relationship with world leaders. Recall that last year, he was invited to the United States by President Barack Obama in the first two months of his swearing in.Also, after his inauguration on May 29, 2015, President Buhari, on the invitation of Chancellor Merkel, attended the G7 summit in Elmau, Germany – the trip was his first to a non-African country after his assumption of office.

From February 8 to 12 this year, President Gauck, accompanied by a delegation of German business community, was on an official visit to Nigeria, where they had fruitful discussions on trade and investments with representatives of government and the private sector in Abuja and Lagos.

So it was no surprise when Merkel invited President Buhari to a state visit to Germany, a rarity for African leaders.

In Berlin, President Buhari, was expected to confer with Federal Chancellor, Angela Merkel on issues of shared interests between Nigeria and Germany, including further cooperation on security, the humanitarian situation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and rehabilitation of the North-East, as well as trade and economic relations between both countries.

On the first day of the trip, President Buhari achieved a major milestone when Germany pledged 18billion euros for the revival of Lake Chad. It will be recalled during many of his foreign trips, Buhari had called challenged world leaders on Lake Chad revival.
According to the United Nations, at least nine million people are in urgent need of aid in the Lake Chad basin.

The UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator, Toby Lanzer, said at least $559 million would be needed in the next four months to ease the crisis in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

He said more than six million people were “severely food insecure” with 568,000 children acutely malnourished adding that the UN has appealed to Britain and other western governments for help.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) had also warned of the worsening condition of children around the Lake Chad, who face acute malnutrition.

The UN Agency explained that of the 475,000 deemed at risk, 49,000 in Borno State would die if they do not receive treatment.

Even during his trip to the United States General Assembly in September, President Buhari called for global support to raise 14 billion US Dollars for the restoration of Lake Chad Basin.

He said the call had become imperative, in view of the drying up of the Lake Chad, to the negative consequences of climate change.

He said, “Nigeria is proud to have been part of the process leading to the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, and supports the African Union Initiative on the Great Green Wall to halt desertification.’’

So it was music to the president’s ears when Merkel pledged 18 billion Euros, more than what is needed to revive the Lake Chad. A major coup.

The Chancellor of Germany said her country has earmarked the amount of 18 billion Euros for the recharging of the Lake Chad through the diversion of rivers in the Congo Basin to empty their waters into the lake.

Both the German leader and President Buhari said they have marked this project as one of their priorities.

Angela Merkel made this announcement at a joint Press Conference with President Muhammadu Buhari following bilateral talks in Berlin.

President Buhari, who made a strong pitch for the recharging of the Lake in bilateral talks with the German leader in the course of an ongoing state visit, said that the drying up of the lake has put the 30 million people in the Lake Chad basin area in danger of being forced to leave.

President Buhari linked the emergence and spread of the Boko Haram terrorism as well as the increasing number of illegal migrations to Europe from Africa to joblessness, starvation and poverty, arising from climate change as manifested by the drying up of the lake.

Speaking at the press conference, the German leader disclosed that “The Lake Chad region is a great priority to us, Nigeria is part and parcel of that. In terms of cooperation, we said we will earmark 18 billion for Lake Chad region area and 50 billion for the overall areas.”

President Buhari welcomed the German offer of skills and vocational training of Nigeria’s teeming unemployed, training and provision of equipment and intelligence to combat criminality and terrorism in the North-East; the vandalisation of oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta region and frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers.

The president also acknowledged the more than 100 German firms in the Nigerian economy and thanked Chancellor Markel for her encouragement of more of such firms to invest in Nigeria.

The German leader commended the progress Nigeria has made in fighting crime, terrorism and corruption and promised continued consultation and closer bilateral cooperation.

Chancellor Merkel expressed concern that the annual illegal migration of 20,000 Nigerians to Germany had become a major issue that needs to be addressed, especially given the fact that emigrants were mostly unqualified for asylum under their own laws.

“We also talked about the migration partnership with the European Union, the EU wants to negotiate migration with Nigeria, my point in this is that we need to see to it that human traffickers are out or business, we have to strengthen legal migration to also create jobs in Nigeria, job possibilities for vocational training, possibilities in education,” said the Chancellor.

On the Chibok girls, Buhari said; we have been able to secure the release of 21 of them, so over 100 more are still in the hands of the terrorists somewhere in the Lake Chad Basin area which include Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria.

“In getting this 21 out, we hope we will get enough intelligence to go about securing the rest of them.”
“We are very grateful to the UN for their participation in trying to secure the release of these girls.”

“Please don’t forget that as a result of terrorism in Nigeria, no fewer than 37,000 Nigerians were killed by Boko Haram.”

“Right now, we have about two million people in IDP camps, 60 per cent of them are women and children and 60 per cent of those children are orphaned.”

“This is a major challenge for government; we have to provide face infrastructure especially for education and health, take them back to their villages and towns and reintegrate them so that they can have normal lives,’’ he said.

The president thanked the German government for their humanitarian assistance and support for Nigeria in dealing with the effects of terrorism.

Meanwhile, President Buhari that same day, after meeting with Merkel, declared that a new bank, Development Bank of Nigeria, would soon begin operations to strengthen the government’s economic diversification programme.

Addressing the German-Nigeria Business Forum in Berlin, President Buhari said the bank, when fully operational, will support small and medium enterprises in the country, by improving their access to financing.

“Our ambitions of creating a diversified and inclusive economy in Nigeria can only be achieved by having a mix of small, medium and large businesses.

“This is why we worked with the German development agency, KFW, in designing the Development Bank of Nigeria which will support the small and medium size enterprises both financially and technically to ensure they take their rightful place in the industrialisation value chain.

“I am pleased to announce that Development Bank of Nigeria will be taking off soon and should be a game changer in our economic diversification plans,’’ he said.

President Buhari, who described Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Nigeria from Germany as modest, urged prospective investors at the gathering to go beyond the expressions of interest and make binding commitments for trade, investments and industry in the key priority sectors of Agriculture, infrastructure, solid minerals and digital economy.

He said Nigeria, which recorded a trade volume of 2.96 billion Dollars with Germany in 2015, still had a great deal of unexploited potential and room to diversify its exports to Germany and increase overall trade volumes.

According to the president, trade relations between both countries primarily take the form of oil and gas exports from Nigeria, machinery, vehicles and vehicle parts, telecommunications technology and chemical products in the other direction.

“Nigeria has remained a country of potential. Now we are in a hurry to develop and realise that potential.”

“Nigeria is not yet where we would like it to be, but I am confident that the government and people of Nigeria are determined to make a CHANGE and be where we would like Nigeria to be.”

“A major economy, that is subject to good governance on the basis of the rule of law and constitutional order and a responsible member of the international community,’’ he said.

President Buhari, who had earlier met with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck, told the business gathering that with the successes recorded in the fight against terrorism and the administration’s resolute commitment to the war against corruption, Nigeria is open for business and broader relationship with Germany.

On corruption, he said: “we have boldly set out to bring an end to a culture of impunity and abuse of public trust. Corruption is the reason why we went through years of an oil boom and came out with very little to show in terms of savings or investments.”

“Corruption is the reason our military struggled for so long against Boko Haram. Corruption is one of the reasons that in spite of our rich human and natural resources as a country, 70 percent of our population continues to live in poverty.”

“Now we have said enough is enough. It is time to make public funds work for the public good. And that is why we are bringing culprits to book and recovering looted funds and assets.”

Also speaking in an interactive session in Berlin with representatives of the Nigerian Community in Germany, President Buhari said his administration will reciprocate the gesture by strengthening critical institutions needed for sustainable development and prosperity.

The president said his administration is greatly encouraged by the uncommon support from Nigerians in the fight against corruption, as well as initiatives aimed at stimulating the economy.

“We are working hard to empower our institutions especially our educational institutions.”

“If you educate a person, that is the best you can do for him but if not, you make him susceptible to religious, ethnic, negative thinking and action.”

“Nigerians are virtually supporting us in our fight against corruption, security and the economy. He referred to “Rolls Royces,” recently discovered in the homes of certain government officials, as a clear reference of the rot in society and the fact that the war against corruption in the country is working.

“There are things that are happening, which if such had happened before, there would have been major riot, like the removal of subsidy on fuel,’’ he said.

President Buhari told Nigerians in the diaspora that it was regrettable that over the years, oil marketers had colluded with banks to defraud Nigeria of much needed revenue from the commodity.

“One third of the activities of the oil marketers are fraudulent, you can see how some of us Nigerians are wicked.”

“They just take the money, stamp some papers without bringing the product and this fraudulent activity was between bankers and businessmen,’’ he said.

The president therefore declared that his administration will continue to “to be very hard on corruption’’, in addition to encouraging more Nigerians to pay their tax.

“If you work hard and get your money, we will try and see how much tax you can pay us, but to take money from government and get away with it, no more,’’ the said.

The president used the occasion of his interaction with Nigerians to underscore the importance of his three-day visit to Germany, the largest economy in Europe, noting that he was upbeat on improved trade ties between both countries because of new investment incentives offered by Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s intense busy three-day official visit to Germany ended on a compassionate note with his convoy veering off its way back to the airport in Berlin, to visit a Nigerian military officer receiving treatment in a Berlin hospital.

The military officer, Brigadier-General Mohammed Sani Aliyu, the Acting Commander of the 3 Division of the Nigerian Army, Jos miraculously survived a ghastly road accident in the course of a duty tour in the North-East.

The head of Training and Operations of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Yusha’u Abubakar, who was in the same vehicle was not as lucky because he died in the auto crash on Maiduguri-Damaturu road.

President Buhari, accompanied by the governors of Borno and Imo, the National Security Adviser (NSA), the Minister of Interior and that of Foreign Affairs congratulated General Aliyu for the progress he has made in his treatment in the last six months in hospital.
The president and his delegation wished him a quick recovery and an early return to his family and duties in Nigeria. He gave a further assurance that his administration will continue to accord priority to the health and wellbeing of service personnel.

Doctors said General Aliyu could barely move his head when he was stretchered in, with the rest of the body torn and broken in many parts. Now, he can move around with very little assistance.




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