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‘Why Buhari cancelled Rwandan trip for AU extraordinary summit’


President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday gave reasons why he cancelled his trip to Kigali, the Rwandan Capital, saying the decision is to enable for more consultations with the stakeholders.

A statement signed by the spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tope Adeleye Elias-Fatile, announcing the cancellation yesterday, read: “President Muhammadu Buhari has cancelled his trip to Kigali, Rwanda, to attend an Extraordinary Summit of the African Union scheduled for Tuesday, March 21, 2018 to sign the framework agreement for establishing the African Continental Free Trade area.

“This is to allow more time for input from Nigerian stakeholders.”

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had during its meeting last Wednesday okayed the decision for President Buhari to sign the framework agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) expected to take place on Tuesday, March 21, 2018.

With the approval given to the President by FEC at the meeting presided by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, some members of Nigeria’s delegation had left to Kigali on Friday, while another group was already at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport on Saturday when information trickled in at about 1:00 p.m. that the meeting had been cancelled.

The framework agreement involves the adoption of a common currency and free trade, among others, within the African Continent.

The private sector and the labour movement in Nigeria, among others, had kicked against the proposed involvement in the framework agreement.

However, the Federal Government had justified the involvement of Nigeria in the new policy, explaining that signing the agreement would expand market access for Nigeria’s exporters of goods and services, spur growth and add fillip to job creation.

It also expressed optimism that the agreement would eliminate barriers against Nigeria’s products and provide a dispute settlement mechanism for stopping the hostile and discriminatory treatment directed against Nigerian natural and corporate business persons in other African countries.

But the National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, in a statement in Abuja, said that signing the agreement would be “extremely dangerous.”

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