President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Mecca said the days of Nigeria as a big oil producer with plenty of money to spend was over, stressing that the country needs all the support it can get to diversify the economy as quickly as possible.
The president in a statement issued by his senior special assistant on media, Garba Shehu, also welcomed an offer by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to organize a financing roundtable in Abuja to mobilize more funds for investment and development of infrastructure in Nigeria.
"We also need to rehabilitate our infrastructure, develop the domestic capacity to feed ourselves and export the surplus," Buhari told the IDB president, Dr. Ahmed Ali.
Dr Ali made the offer of partnership at a meeting with President Buhari who is currently on an official visit to Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Ali assured President Buhari that the IDB will work with its traditional partners such as the Saudi Fund, the Kuwait Fund, Arab Bank for Development in Africa and the Abu Dhabi Fund, to increase the quantum of funding available to Nigeria.
Welcoming the offer, President Buhari restated his government's determination to revamp and diversify the Nigerian economy rapidly.
President Buhari also welcomed the plan by the IDB to fast track the take-off of the Bilingual Education Program, aimed at integrating the Almajiri system of education with Western education in Nigeria.
The IDB has already provided $98m for the Bilingual Education Program in Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Osun and Yobe. The bank plans to support similar projects in other states of Nigeria.
Why PMB Visited Saudi For Lesser Hajj-Presidency
The Presidency also said President Muhammadu Buhari is currently participating in lesser hajj in Saudi Arabia because he and Nigeria need prayers.
Addressing journalists in Saudi Arabia yesterday the senior special assistant to the President on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the lesser hajj would strengthen Buhari and also help revive the nation.
"It's the love of the nation, the president has thrown everything into the job, (and) he's doing the most that any human being can do, trying to restore the economy, working on the restoration of security in the country, fighting corruption. Behind all these are enormous powers.
PMB Seeks OIC's Support To Resettle IDPs
Meanwhile, President Buhari said yesterday in Mecca that the government will welcome support from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for its ongoing efforts to rehabilitate parts of the country affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Speaking at a meeting with the secretary general of the OIC, Mr Iyad Ameen Madani, Buhari urged the organisation to send a fact-finding mission to the ravaged states to see the damage done by terrorists.
Buhari said that it is only by educating people about Islam that terrorists will be deprived of legitimacy.