Lai: Why ministers were absent at meeting with investors in Washington


Lai: Why ministers were absent at meeting with investors in Washington
Lai Mohammed, minister of information, has spoken on why he and some of his colleagues were absent at the US-Nigeria Investment Summit in Washington, DC, on April 19, 2018.
Audu Ogbeh (agriculture), Ogbonnaya Onu (science and technology), Babatunde Fashola (power), Ibe Kachikwu (state for petroleum resources), Kemi Adeosun (finance) and Kayode Fayemi (solid minerals) were expected to attend the event.
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, emir of Kano, had expressed displeasure over the absence of government officials at the meeting, saying Nigeria might lose investors because of “tardiness and lackadaisical attitude”.
“We had a meeting today with investors, we were supposed to start by 9am we started at 10. When I came in, they took me to the ambassador’s office to sit down, when investors were waiting down there. We had a list of people who were to be here, vice president, ministers, some of them are in town, but they haven’t come up,” the monarch had said.
“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 President Kagame himself would be there telling people to come to Rwanda.”
But in a statement on Monday, 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.
“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 organisers, even though they were listed among those who were expected to attend,” the statement read.
“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.”
Mohammed said though he was invited to the forum, he wrote back to inform the organisers that he would not be able to make the trip due to conflicting schedules.
On Sunday, Adeosun and Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, had provided reasons for their absence.
Both of them said they did not confirm attendance for the meeting because it was not included in their schedule.