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Presidency Dismisses Allegations in Leaked Memo Regarding Tinubu’s Planned Trip to Qatar



Presidency Dismisses Allegations in Leaked Memo Regarding Tinubu's Planned Trip to Qatar

On Saturday in Abuja, the Presidency refuted suggestions that Qatari authorities had halted President Bola Tinubu’s planned state visit to the country.

Mr Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, stated that the state visit would still hold between March 2 and March 4.

Onanuga explained that a leaked memo focused on a private sector-led Business and Investment Forum to be held on the margins of the president’s state visit.

“We are aware of a leaked diplomatic correspondence between the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Abuja and Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding President Tinubu’s visit between March 2 and March 3, 2024.

“The leaked diplomatic paper by mischief makers about an investment forum is not in any way a snub on Tinubu by the Qatari government.

“The business meeting is being put together by the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and Qatar’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Business people from Nigeria planned to engage their counterparts from Qatar on commercial and investment opportunities available in both countries,’’ Onanuga stated.

He added that NACCIMA and the Qatari Chambers of Commerce and Industry were collaborating to take advantage of the president’s visit to Doha.

He stated also that the collaboration was to mobilise the business communities from the two countries to explore opportunities in the oil and gas sector.

They also planned to explore opportunities in manufacturing, agro-business, construction, real estate, ICT, renewable energy, solid minerals and service sector, among others.

The leaked memo stated that the Qatari authorities had turned down Tinubu’s request to visit and hold a business and investment forum in Doha.

The leaked memo indicated that a letter from the Qatari government to Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday stated that it would not be able to welcome President Tinubu.

It stated that Qatar’s position was based on the lack of a legally binding agreement between Qatar and Nigeria for the promotion of investments.

“​The letter sent to the foreign affairs ministry on Feb. 22 reads: “The embassy has the honour to inform that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Qatar apologises that it will not be able to hold a business and investment forum as proposed by the Nigerian side.

“This is because there is no agreement signed between the State of Qatar and the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Investment Promotion and Protection,’’ Onanuga stated.

He stressed that President Tinubu was expected to proceed to Qatar on the state visit as scheduled.

​He added that during the visit, the Nigerian leader would engage in high-level bilateral discussions with the Qatari leader on important matters, covering diplomatic and economic issues.

“It is incorrect to insinuate that the Qatari authorities have snubbed the Nigerian leader over a business and investment forum which is tangential to the state visit.

“President Tinubu and His Highness Al-Thani are both committed to maintaining and building on the existing cordial and special relationship between Nigeria and the State of Qatar​,’’ Onanuga also stated.