By Patience Danjuma
The Federal Government on Monday debunked media reports that ministers who were invited to the US-Nigeria Investment Summit in Washington, D.C, on April 19, 2018, shunned the forum.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement issued in London said most of the ministers who were slated to attend the event were not invited and were not in Washington DC at the time.
Mohammed said that the insinuation that some ministers collected estacodes without attending the forum was baseless.
He added that the Ministers of Agriculture; Power Works and Housing and Budget and National Planning did not get an invitation from the organisers, even though they were listed among those who were expected to attend.
Mohammed said the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, who was also invited, was with the President at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 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.
The minister said though he (Minister of Information and Culture) 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.
He said, “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.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, on Monday refuted reports that he was absent at an intended meeting with investors in the U.S. alongside other ministers.
A statement in Abuja by the spokesman for the Ministry, Idang Alibi, said Kachikwu was at another investors meeting in the UK.
“The office of the Minister has recently been beleaguered with various media reports concerning the absence of the Minister of State at the recent US-Nigeria Investment Summit held in Washington, DC.
“It is important to note that Dr Kachikwu was not in the United States of America as reported and was not billed to attend the summit.
“He was in the United Kingdom where he had just concluded the facilitation of a key investment meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Royal Dutch Shell plc. led by the CEO, Bernardus Van Beurden, in London.
”He is committed to delivering the major aspirations of the #7BigWins of which Business and Investment Drive is a key theme,” the statent read in part.
There were reports that the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had criticised the ministers who were to attend the investment summit, but were absent.
Only the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi reportedly attended the investors meeting.
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