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Buhari absent from FEC meeting as Osinbajo presides


President Mohammadu Buhari/ AFP PHOTO / Sunday AGHAEZE

• N20b green bond sale to wait till passage of 2017 budget
The Presidency yesterday said President Muhammadu Buhari was absent from Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting because he was engaged with other pressing state issues and not due to ill health.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presided over the FEC meeting.

His absence yesterday sparked speculations that his health had relapsed, rendering him incapable of presiding over the council meeting.

However, addressing State House correspondents after the FEC meeting, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed explained that it is not unusual for the Vice President to preside.

According to Mohammed, “Clearly, when we came in this morning, Mr. President was not in the chambers but the Vice President did preside over the council meeting.”

The minister said: “He is not ill, he is not sick,” and assured that the president will be back in the office tomorrow (Thursday). It is not unusual for the VP to preside over FEC meeting, even if Mr. President is hale and hearty.”

“I have just been told now that the Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir Lawal is with him in the residence working. So, the fact that you did not see him in the office does not mean that he is not working at all.

“Understandably, that has sparked a lot of speculations. I just want to make this clear, Mr. President is in town. Mr. President is attending to state issues. Mr. President looked at the agenda, it was a very light agenda and decided that the Vice President could preside,” he explained.

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril said the issuance of the N20 billion green bond would have to wait until the 2017 budget has been passed.

The government had planned to launch the $65.55 million bond this month to fund projects to reduce carbon emissions and develop renewable energy.

The environment ministry had explained the programme was aimed at widening Nigeria’s funding options and diversify the oil-dependent economy.

Jibril said all is set for its formal launch but the budget has to be passed first before the issuance.

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