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WHY BUHARI WAS ABSENT FROM G7 MEETING-PRESIDENCY

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Buhari’s absence at the G7 had attracted criticism but the presidency says the president was not invited.

The presidency has cleared the air on some criticisms trailing President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence at the recently-concluded G7 summit that took place in France.

Even though the summit has a core membership of seven world powers and the European Union, African leaders such as Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), Macky Sall (Senegal), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (Egypt), and Roch Marc Christian Kaboré (Burkina Faso) were invited to the event in Biarritz, Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

Many critics have bashed President Buhari’s absence from the event and demeaned the president’s current involvement in the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) which starts on August 28.

The president left Abuja for Tokyo on Sunday, August 25 to participate in the conference, while the Japanese PM, Shinzō Abe, was at the G7, another reason critics called Buhari’s trip a sham.

However, the president’s special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, has fought back against the critics.

In a Facebook post, he said the president has been invited to the G7 in the past and can’t possibly enforce future invitations as a non-member.

“Is Nigeria part of G7? No.

“So, no Nigerian leader, or leader of any non-member country, can gatecrash into the meeting of the association. You need to be invited.

“Recall that in 2015, about a week after his inauguration, the first trip President Buhari made outside Africa was to attend the G7 meeting in Germany. 

“He had been invited to brief the association on the security challenges in Nigeria, so that helping hand could be offered.

“You don’t stroll into G7 meeting, if you are not a member country. You gotta be invited,” he explained.

He also dismissed critics that said a conference on African development should be held in Africa, noting that it rotates between Africa and Tokyo.

He said, “TICAD 6 thus held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016. So, why are some people still wailing?”

Adesina also highlighted the benefits of the conference, dismissed by some as a mere ‘talk-shop’, noting that the African continent has received numerous grants and technical assistance since TICAD started in 1993.

“In the first five years, Japan built 1,321 elementary and middle schools, improved 4,778 healthcare and medical facilities, and provided safe water to additional 10.79 million people,” he said.

The president’s media aide said Japan has provided Nigeria with counterterrorism measures and humanitarian assistance, particularly for internally displaced persons.

He said this year’s programme outline holds much for Africa in different spheres like deepening sustainable and resilient society, building peace and stability, agriculture, climate change and disaster risk reduction, human resource development, education, blue economy, and many others.

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