18 July 2018

Nigeria: President Buhari Returns to Abuja From Netherlands

President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to Abuja after a successful 3-day official visit to The Hague, Netherlands, where he delivered a Keynote Address at the 20th Anniversary of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Alhaji Bashir Ahmed, President Buhari's Personal Assistant on Social Media, confirmed this development on his twitter page on Wednesday in Abuja.

While addressing the ICC on Tuesday, President Buhari assured the international community of a free, fair and peaceful 2019 general elections in Nigeria.

He maintained that under his watch, the tragic incidents that characterised the 2011 general elections, necessitating preliminary investigations by the ICC would not happen again in Nigeria.

He also met with Shell CEO and discussions focused on investments in deep water and gas projects in Nigeria, toured the Port of Rotterdam and the Shell Refinery Pernis, Hoogvliet, a borough of Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The President had on July 17 met with Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands and the two leaders restated their commitment to growing trade partnership between Nigeria and the Netherlands.

During the talks, Rutte described Nigeria as the Netherlands' most important trading partner, noting that in the field of modern agriculture, there were opportunities for Dutch companies and knowledge institutes.

The two leaders also discussed issues relating to the fight against insurgency in the North-East, climate change, particularly the shrinkage of Lake Chad.

Buhari welcomed the interest of the Dutch Prime Minister on Lake Chad and commitment to establish a technical committee to work with the Nigerian side on the best approach to address the issue of the receding Lake.

In pursuit of one of the cardinal themes of his administration, the President also met with over 20 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Dutch-owned companies.

Buhari assured them of a secured Nigeria where their investments would be safe and yield handsome returns.

The president said: "Stability was the first thing in our campaigns. You have to secure a country first, before you can efficiently manage it.

"Before businesses can thrive, security is paramount. That is why we lay so much emphasis on securing the country.

"After security, our next emphasis is reviving the economy and then, fighting corruption."

He commended the many Dutch-owned companies operating in Nigeria for dealing fairly.

The President noted that with many of them, "the relationship dates back more than two generations, and it is now almost a blood relationship rather than commercial."

In the course of the three-day official visit, the President also met with members of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO), the Netherlands Chapter.

He lauded them for their professional and intellectual achievements and contributions to the development of their motherland.

"I am pleased with the quality of people I am seeing. You are high quality people. Congratulations on your personal achievements."

Among those that met the President was Julius Nnamdi Nwankpa, Chairman NIDO and Dr Mustapha Gidado, a specialist in tuberculosis.

Gidado has oversight over management of the disease in 22 countries and Lola Visser Mabogunje, a performance monitoring expert.

Dr Peter Ngene, a research scientist and Assistant Professor at Utrecht University and Cornelius Obot, a software expert.

Toyin Loyo, an artist and culture enthusiast of international repute also attended the meeting with the President.

On the sidelines of the President's visit, the Nigerian Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama and his Dutch Counterpart, Stef Blok, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on bilateral consultations at Schedeldoekshaven, The Hague.

The MoU aims to promote and facilitate relations between Nigeria and the Netherlands in the key thematic areas of security, trade, investment, agriculture, political dialogue and education.

NAN

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