Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari and his guest, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-thani, discussed investments opportunities in petroleum, power, aviation, agriculture, railways, and many others, the presidency has said.
In a statement, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said the discussion held at State House, Abuja, on Tuesday, also centered on the recharge of Lake Chad with water from the Congo Basin, so as to grant succour to the more than 30 million people adversely affected by the shrinkage of the lake over the years.
Buhari told the Emir of Qatar, “We invite you to invest in our refineries, pipelines, power sector, aviation, agriculture, education, and many others, so that you can have your management here to oversee the investment. We need your expertise.”
On the receding Lake Chad, the president said of the over 30 million people affected, more than half were in Nigeria, and it has contributed greatly to illegal migration, as innumerable youths dare the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, in order to find safer shores in Europe. A large number die in the process.
“We need help with the recharge of Lake Chad, as it is not a project that the concerned countries can handle alone. Recharging the lake will bring back fishing, farming, animal husbandry, and the youths won’t be attracted by insurgency or illegal migration. We want Qatar to be involved because of the humanitarian nature of the endeavour.” In his remarks, Sheikh Hamad Al-thani noted that the relationship between the two countries is very good. “We just have to build on it, he added.”
The Emir of Qatar, who was visiting Nigeria for the first time, described his visit as a reciprocal visit to the one paid to Qatar in 2016 by President Buhari.
He added: “We share a lot of similarities in different areas. We need to enhance bilateral trade and economic cooperation. We are willing to do a lot more with Nigeria, and will continue to work on investment opportunities of mutual benefit.”