I’ll defend Nigerians in foreign lands, protect Spanish firms, says President
• Urges investors to look beyond challenges, focus on opportunities
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, met with Nigerians living in Spain on the sidelines of his official visit, pledging that Nigeria will continue to defend the interests of its nationals living abroad.
The diaspora team, which met with the President included John Bosco, president of the association; his deputy, Richard Omoregbe; Super Eagles player who plies his trade with Leganes FC, Kenneth Omeruo; Obinna Okafor, a football agent; Mohammed Bashir, a student of Aviation; Segun Adedoyin, studying Global Affairs, and Bright Omorodion, a businessman.
Buhari also met with two Spanish companies doing business in Nigeria and assured them of a safe, secure and prosperous country.
At a meeting with executives of GB Foods, which grows tomatoes in Kebbi State, and employs about 5,000 people, the President pledged that the entire country would be secured, noting that it is one of the cardinal objectives of the administration.
He also assured protection for local farmers against smuggling and dumping of foreign products, saying: “Detractors are working very hard against our efforts. That was why we closed our borders for so long, and the result is evident. We want to grow what we eat, and eat what we grow. Thank you for your huge investment in our country, the jobs you create, and the skills imparted to our people.”
Chairman of GB Foods, Artur Carulla, described the company as a family business now in its third generation in Africa, and which has invested over 250 billion dollars in countries like Nigeria, Algeria, Ghana and Senegal.
GB Foods pledged that in about two years, it would be en route to supplying 30 per cent of the nation’s tomato needs, stressing: “We will replicate what has happened with rice. We knew what it was before you came.”
At another meeting with Naturgy, a leading Spanish gas company, the President expressed pleasure that the outfit has established a steady partnership with Nigeria in the oil and gas industry.
Francisco Reynes, Chief Executive Officer of Naturgy, said its first contact with Nigeria was in 1992, and since then, they have become one of the largest buyers of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).
He said Naturgy is interested in extending its relationship with Nigeria on gas, citing its 178 years of experience in the business.
“Countries like Algeria, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, and the USA, are our suppliers. We want to invest more in Nigeria,” Reynes said.
ALSO, Buhari called on investors to look beyond challenges currently facing the world and focus on opportunities, as, according to him, there are no challenges without opportunities and solutions.
He made this call when he addressed the Spain-Nigeria Business Meeting organised by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
The President told the gathering of Spanish and Nigerian corporations and investors to look towards Africa for the opportunities therein.
Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, said Nigeria and Spain have enjoyed a very cordial relationship since the 1960s. He added that Nigeria is “committed to increasing its volume of trade with Spain, even as Spain is currently one of Nigeria’s strongest EU trading partners.”