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Ministers didn’t shun US-Nigeria summit, says FG…As controversy continues to trail event

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After almost 72 hours, fallout from the contentious Nigeria-US Summit continues to reverberate throughout Washington and Nigeria.

The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi, over the week-end expressed disappointment over the federal government’s poor attitude to the attraction of foreign investors.

“You invite top investors, your ministers are in Washington, and they do not come to talk to the investors about Nigeria. That is not how you attract investors. If you have this forum in the Rwandan Embassy, I assure you that President Paul Kagame himself would be there telling people to come, Sanusi at the venue of the event.

The Federal Government on Monday denied reports that Ministers who were invited to the US-Nigeria Investment Summit shunned the forum.

In a statement issued in London on Monday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said most of the Ministers who were slated to attend the event were not invited and were not in Washington, DC, at the time, hence the insinuation that some Ministers collected estacodes without attending the forum is baseless.

He said the Ministers of Agriculture; Power Works and Housing and Budget and National Planning did not get any invitation from the organizers, even though they were listed among those who were expected to attend.

Alhaji Mohammed said the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, who was invited, was with the President at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London at the time of the summit, while the Minister of Finance, who was in Washington, DC, at the time, was there purposely to attend the 2018 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

He said though he (Minister of Information and Culture) was invited to the forum, he wrote back to inform the organizers that he would not be able to make the trip due to conflicting schedules.

”It is clear from the foregoing that no Minister shunned the US Investment Summit and that the reports being circulated in that regard are bereft of facts,” the Minister said.

Meanwhile, controversy has trailed the summit with many describing it as ‘shoddy’.

Per Second News investigation in Washington revealed that the Embassy of Nigeria is facing a civil lawsuit by a businessman who alleged that he put together the “Meet and Partner with Government Policy Makers Institutional Investors Corporate Leaders” summit but the project was hijacked by officials at the Embassy of Nigeria.

The event initially billed to take place at the  5-Star  JW Mariott hotel in NorthWest, Washington, was changed to the lobby of the embassy due to financial constraints.

Officials of the hotel said organizers did not come up with advance payment and were advised to look for another venue.

Most members of the Corporate Council of Africa, CCA, the leading U.S. business association focused solely on connecting business interests in Africa did not attend the program.

CCA is the key resource group for conducting successful business in Africa and in an era of shifting U.S. policy and rapidly changing markets.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE

This is a developing story and will be updated.

 

 

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