From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has said activities of terrorists would not stop President Muhammadu Buhari from honouring international obligations.
It also said the president would visit his country home, Daura in Katsina to celebrate Sallah, notwithstanding the attack on his advance team.
His spokesman, Femi Adesina, said these while reacting to condemnation that has trailed Buhari’s decision to participate in the International Development Association (IDA) for Africa Summit in Dakar, Senegal, amid deteriorating security situation in the country.
Adesina said: “Yes, the president should go because there’s an international conference meant for heads of states and presidents, he should attend. You should never give in to terrorists. The moment theories begin to stop you from doing things, then we might as well throw up our hands in surrender. The President should go ahead. Yes, it’s an international obligation Thank you.”
Earlier in a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the Presidency had announced that Buhari was departing the country Wednesday for the summit.
Shehu said the President is to be accompanied by seven relevant government officials.
Those on the entourage are the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama; Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; as well as Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo.
Others on the entourage are: the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; Director- General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Amb. Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar; Director-General, Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha; and the Managing Director of the Bank of Industry, Olukayode Pitan.
President Buhari is expected back in the country at the end of the Summit on Thursday, July 7.
Shehu explained that IDA, an institution of the World Bank Group, is deepening its support to drive a resilient recovery for countries hit by the global crises of climate and COVID -19, growing levels of insecurity and more recently, by the impact of the war in Ukraine through its historic $93 billion 20th replenishment cycle (IDA20) which goes into effect between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2025.
“At the High Level event slated for Thursday, July 7 and hosted by President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal, President Buhari is expected to join other African leaders in an open Dialogue on Development Challenges and priorities as well as transformational initiatives that will lead to an outcome document, the Dakar Declaration.
“This commitment is expected to chart the way forward for the transformation of the economies of these nations in partnership with the World Bank/IDA.
“Topics slated for discussion include: Financing for Recovery and Economic Transformation in Africa; Agriculture, Livestock and Food Security; Human Capital; Digital and Technological Innovation; and Energy Transition and Climate Change”, he said in the statement.
On the attack on the presidential convoy, Adesina said: “You know when a president travels almost anywhere in the world, there will be an advanced team. That was the advanced team that was going to Daura….
“So it was the advanced team that was going ahead made up security, protocol, media transport, all the departments that have one or two things to do with the president’s stay and comfort were the ones going ahead.
“So shortly before they got to their destination, around Dutsema area, some group of bandits came out of the forest and engaged them.
“Of course, a presidential convoy will have soldiers, police, DSS and different kinds of securitymen. So, there was a pitched battle and they successfully repelled the bandits who eventually had to run away.
“Only two people were injured in the presidential advance team, one protocol person and one other lady. They were taken to an orthopaedic hospital and I’m sure they have been attended to. It was not said to be a life threatening wound. But maybe the Katsina police command will give further reports which will be more on the spot then what you can say from Abuja here.
“But what we are glad about is that it happened but then no lives were lost on the side of members of the presidential convoy.”
Asked if there was no intelligence going around, Adesina said: “Well, intelligence is good but it can only be as good as they say, you will never be as wise as the person stalking you or watching you. You will never be as wise as that person.”