President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said there was no truth in media reports alleging that he intentionally snubbed the recent South-East Economic and Security Summit in Enugu.
Rather, he said he was advised by some stakeholders from the region not to attend on Thursday as scheduled in view of the closeness of the date to Christmas Day.
Buhari made the clarification in a statement made available to journalists by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
Shehu said Buhari was told that a presidential visit at this time of the year might be disruptive to Christmas.
The statement read, “The President was presented with a request to attend the Economic and Security Summit by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu. The President happily accepted.
“The visit to Enugu was scheduled for Thursday, December 22, as can be found on the weekly programme.
“After this was done, some other stakeholders from the South-East came and advised him not to go in view of the closeness of the date to Christmas; that given the sensitivity of the period to the people, a presidential visit may come with overexertion and possibly, be disruptive to Christmas.
“In view of this, President Buhari requested that the event be pushed forward to January, 2017. Given his nature, he did not insist. He said if the change of date is not possible, then the event can go on without him. That is what the organisers chose to do.
“The President did not, and he absolutely had no reason to snub anyone.”
Meanwhile, Buhari on Friday also commended Lagos and Kebbi states for the successful partnership that gave rise to the local production of LAKE Rice (Lagos-Kebbi Rice).
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President lauded the commitment of Governors Akinwunmi Ambode and Atiku Bagudu in bringing to fruition the Memorandum of Understanding signed in March 2016 on substantially meeting the country’s rice requirement.
“It gladdens my heart to get reports of our citizens rushing to purchase this cheaper local rice to enable them and their families enjoy the Christmas and New Year celebrations,” the President said.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday described the latest terror attacks on Germany as wake-up calls for the rest of the world to show sympathy and solidarity towards Chancellor Angela Merkel in the global effort to neutralise and obliterate terrorists’ agenda against humanity.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President also extolled Chancellor Merkel’s strong leadership qualities and her compassion towards immigrants from the Middle East and other countries.
“President Buhari said he appreciated the Chancellor’s support for Nigeria in dealing with its own domestic challenges, including terrorism,” the statement read.