Buhari Departs Abuja for Addis Ababa Friday

Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Friday leave the shores of Nigeria to attend the 33rd Ordinary Session of Heads of States and Governments of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement, said Buhari would join other African leaders from 54 countries to participate in the summit with the theme, “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.”

The statement said the president would also attend the 29th Forum of Heads of State and Government of Participating States of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and the 27th Session of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Heads of States and Governments’ Orientation Committee (AUDA-NEPAD). The meetings will precede the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly.

It also said in Nigeria’s capacity as a member of the AU Peace and Security Council, Buhari will participate in the high Level meeting of the Peace and Security Council on the situation in the Sahel and Libya, and High Level Ad-Hoc Committee on South Suda adding that Buhari will deliver a keynote address on the margins of the summit at a high level side event on “Stop the War on Children: Dividend of Silencing the Guns,” co-sponsored by the Governments of Nigeria, Uganda and Norway, and Save the Children International.

The statement added: “President Buhari and the Nigerian delegation will also participate in other High Level Side Events in furtherance of Nigeria’s national, regional and international goals, priorities and aspirations namely, peace and security, countering terrorism and violent extremism, economic development, asset recovery and fight against corruption.

“The President will also hold bilateral meetings with several world leaders on the margins of the Summit. At the end of the AU Summit on February 10, the Nigerian President will commence a State Visit to Ethiopia on February 11, at the invitation of the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Dr Abiy Ahmed. The visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral ties between Nigeria and Ethiopia and reinforcing cooperation in key areas of mutual interest between the two countries. Before returning to Abuja, President Buhari will also interact with the Nigerian community in Ethiopia.”

Shehu said Buhari would be accompanied by Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State; Senator Adamu Mohammed Bulkachuwa, Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs; and Hon. Yusuf Baba, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Also on the entourage are the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Minister of Defence, Major-Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd.), Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Princess Gloria Akobundu, National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD Nigeria, National Security Adviser, Major-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd.), and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.

He said Buhari would return to Abuja on Wednesday, next week.