- Visits Chad, Niger tomorrow
- Yet to relocate to State House
Barely four days in office, President Muhammadu Buhari, has announced a foreign itinerary, with Chad and Niger Republic as his first major points of call.
The President will embark on the trip to the two neighbouring countries tomorrow, where he would hold talks with his hosts on how to end the Boko Haram menace in the North-East zone and Chad and Niger Republic.
If the President embarks on the journey, it will be his first trip outside the country since his inauguration on Friday, May 29, 2015.
Prior to his swearing-in, President Buhari had travelled to London where he met Prime Minister David Cameron. He returned from the trip for his inauguration at the Eagle Square, Abuja last Friday.
Nigerian Pilot learnt that Buhari will visit the Presidents of Chad and Niger Republic tomorrow to discuss security affecting the three countries.
In the heat of the relentless attacks by Boko Haram sect, former President Goodluck Jonathan had rushed to Chad and Niger to meet the two countries’ leaders on how they could work together to bring insurgency under control.
The All Progressives Congress, APC (Buhari’s party) had lambasted the former president over the trip and accused him of relying on them to check the attacks of the terrorists.
But less than a week in office, President Buhari is rushing to the same leaders for assistance to fight the insurgents who he, during his campaigns, promised to root out once he assumes office.
In his inaugural speech on Friday, President Buhari expressed his readiness to tackle the enormous challenges facing Nigeria, one of which is insecurity owing majorly to the activities of Boko Haram sect.
He referred to Boko Haram’s insurgency as the “most immediate” challenge before him.
Buhari had said: “Our neighbours in the sub-region and our African brethren should rest assured that Nigeria under our administration will be ready to play any leadership role that Africa expects of it.
“Here, I would like to thank the governments and people of Cameroun, Chad and Niger for committing their armed forces to fighting Boko Haram in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, Buhari yesterday spent his first working day in office at the Defence House, Abuja, where he has been living and receiving visitors since he was declared winner of the March 28 presidential election.
His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, explained that the President was not using his official residence and office in the State House yet because of the renovation works going on there.
Apparently referring to the former administration, Shehu said: “They claim some renovation was going on, the place is being cleaned up for his occupation.
“The contractors are working probably at their own pace, if I need to know or if you need to know this, probably we have to talk to someone. I am not saying he’s comfortable where he is at his rented house but he is operating from there at the moment, when the Villa is ready he will move.”
On when to expect the President to release the names of those that will be his ministers, Shehu said: “I have no idea, but it is not something anybody will rush because you know that the National Assembly has to approve, when are you going to have National Assembly in place? That is the question. Unless you are like Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose, you cannot take your ministerial list to the outgoing parliament.”
The Defence House witnessed a beehive of activities throughout yesterday with dignitaries from all walks of life coming to pay homage to the new President.
At the time of filing this report, President Buhari had met with newly sworn-in governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, who spoke to State House correspondents after meeting with the President.
Bello said he was there to wish Buhari well and congratulate him on his successful inauguration.
He also promised to work with the Buhari-led Federal Government to give quality service to the people of Niger State.
The President also received briefings from National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) on the security situation in the country, especially in the North-East where Boko Haram attacks have been on the increase since Buhari was sworn-in.
Also at the Defence House to see the President was the immediate past governor of Kano State, Dr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso.