After spending the last three weeks abroad in investments and climate change summits in Scotland, France and South Africa, President Muhammadu Buhari returned to the country on Tuesday.
Surprisingly the president hit the ground running and attended the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday.
Thursday was a busy day for the president. In the morning, the president attended the presentation of a report entitled, “Getting Things Done: Strategies for Policy and Programme Implementation in Nigeria,”by the Senior Executive Course 43 (2021) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) , Kuru, Plateau State.
The President directed Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to study the Report on how best to ensure effective policy design and implementation with a view to implementing some of its recommendations.
In the afternoon, the president received in audience Mr Antony Blinken, United States Secretary of State. Recall that the Secretary of State is on a three country African tour.
President Buhari told Blinken that the Federal Government will allow the system to exhaust itself, and will, therefore, wait for pronouncements from state governments which set up panels to probe police brutality in the country.
On the recent removal of Nigeria from watchlist of countries violating religious freedom, which Blinken said was “based on facts,” President Buhari expressed the country’s appreciation, noting that there was freedom of worship in Nigeria, and no one is discriminated against on the basis of his or her faith.
On development of democratic ethos, President Buhari said Nigeria has adopted the American model, “hook, line, and sinker, with its term limits. Those who have attempted to breach it were disappointed, if not disgraced. You are even lucky if you have two terms. Others try hard, and don’t get it. The American model has been accepted by Nigerians as the best.”
Mr Blinken, who had held a virtual meeting with the Nigerian President earlier in the year said jocularly that it was now good to see him “mask to mask, hoping that we will soon see face to face.”
He appreciated the contributions of President Buhari to protection of the climate, particularly his presence and contributions at the recent COP26 climate conference held in Glasgow, Scotland.
Blinken said America and Nigeria have diverse challenges, but a common denominator is security, and hoped for better partnerships, “so that the bad guys won’t get the good guys.”
He described the report of the EndSARS probe panel as “democracy in action,” stressing that America equally had its own police brutality, and hoping that necessary reforms would be made.
That same Thursday, the president met with the speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila over the raging controversy over the direct and indirect primary clause in the electoral act amendment bill.
Similarly that same Thursday , president signed the Climate Change bill . The act provides for, among other things, the mainstreaming of climate change actions and the establishment of a National Council on Climate Change.
It also paves the way for environmental and economic accounting and a push for a net zero emission deadline plan in the country.
The president also signed the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment) Act which amends the AMCON Act No.4, 2010.
It provides for the extension of the tenor of the Resolution Cost Fund and grants access to the Special Tribunal established by the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act 2020, which confers on the corporation the power “to take possession, manage, foreclose or sell, transfer, assign or otherwise deal with the asset or property used as security for eligible bank assets and related matters.’’
This, in effect, will help AMCON make recoveries and for debtors to fulfil their commitments to banks.
Also on Thursday night , the president received the President of Guinea Bissau Umaro Sissoco Embalo at the Residence.