Obasanjo: Buhari’s refusal to sign Africa Free Trade Agreement criminal


Former President Olusegun Obasanjo caused a stir in Kigali, Rwanda on Wednesday when he described the action of African leaders absent at the signing of the African Union Continental Free Trade Area (AUCFTA) as criminal.

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria was one of the African presidents absent at the signing of the agreement. 

44 African leaders present at the forum signed the agreement.

In a video posted online by NBS on Thursday, Obasanjo was seen and heard berating African presidents who gave flimsy excuses for not understanding the agreement and refusing to sign it as criminals.

Obasanjo said, “It is criminal for any African leader to talk of not understanding what we are going to sign (Free Trade Agreement in Africa) and afford not to be here.”

President Buhari had on Wednesday told the Federal Executive Council that he would not rush into anything that will undermine local manufacturers and entrepreneurs, or that may lead to Nigeria becoming a dumping ground for finished goods.

Buhari, who was adducing reasons for his cancelled trip to Kigali for the signing of the AUCFTA agreement framework, said the agreement has the capacity to hinder local entrepreneurship and encourage the dumping of finished goods in Nigeria.

He added that he was yet to fully understand the economic and security implications of AUCFTA.

Meanwhile a committee comprising the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Labour, Budget, Science and Technology and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been set up to look at the agreement and its security implications for Nigeria.  

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