From Aidoghie Paulinus, Beijing, China
THE Federal Government has given reasons why President Muhammadu Buhari travels outside the shores of Nigeria frequently.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bulus Lolo, told newsmen on the sideline of President Buhari’s visit to China that Nigerians owe him a great debt of gratitude for travelling abroad where he deploys goodwill for the benefit of Nigerians.
Lolo maintained that those criticising the president are rather uninformed, saying Nigeria has benefited a lot from the president’s frequent trips.
“On Tuesday, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria signed an agreement with China, providing us a $5 billion window, which is like we have added to our reserve by about five billion because any goods you buy today, either from China or elsewhere, and you want to pay, you don’t have to draw from our national reserve.
“We can use this window that has been provided. That is one advantage the president brings from his frequent travels.
“Doors were locked against Nigeria, but, now, they are putting red carpet for him to walk through, and as he walks through, Nigeria businessmen are behind him, opening new opportunities. The second advantage of Mr President’s travels comes from the fact that he is trusted around the world. This is not a commodity you pick from a shelf in a shop. It is personal to him, but, he is expending it for the good of the country.
“The third benefit of his travels is his integrity. Where there is trust and there is integrity, people believe you. They are ready to do business with you,” Lolo said.
Lolo added that because the president travels, things that Nigeria was denied are presently thrown open to the country. “Talk of three, four years ago in our fight against Boko Haram; with money in our hands, we were looking for equipment to buy, we couldn’t buy. Today, there is not a single country that he has visited where he is not being invited to tell them what he wants to buy, including the very equipment we were denied before. It is ours to ask, and, sometimes, even at subsidised rate.
“In a nutshell, the answer is very simple: we owe him a great debt of gratitude for expending his goodwill, his integrity and trust that he enjoys…”