Presidency confirms Tinubu will visit Qatar despite snub concerns

THE presidency has debunked reports that the Government of Qatar ‘snubbed’ President Bola Tinubu on plans to embark on a state visit to the country. 

In a statement on Saturday, February 24, signed by Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, the Presidency said the state visit by President Tinubu is on the invitation of the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. 

The statement followed a leaked note verbale between the foreign ministries of both countries, which showed the Arab nation would be unable to hold a proposed forum intended to be held during Tinubu’s visit.

“It is not correct for anyone to insinuate that the Qatari authorities have snubbed the Nigerian leader over a business and investment forum which is tangential to the all-important State Visit and which President Tinubu is slated to attend as a guest,” the presidency said.

In the letter, Qatar said its decision to decline the business and investment forum was due to the lack of a legally binding agreement with Nigeria to promote investment.

The letter also claimed that the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Thani, “will be carrying out official missions outside the country during the upcoming visit period,” which makes him unavailable for the forum.

However, in a statement titled ‘President Bola Tinubu’s state visit to Qatar,’ the Presidency explained that President Tinubu is expected to proceed to Qatar on the State Visit as scheduled and during the visit, the Nigerian leader will engage in high-level bilateral discussions with Qatari leader on many important matters, covering the full range of diplomatic and economic issues.

The Presidency said, “We are aware of a leaked diplomatic correspondence between the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Abuja and our Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s state visit to Qatar between March 2 – 3, 2024.

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

It said the note verbale is about a private sector-led Business and Investment Forum to be held on the margins of President Tinubu’s State Visit. 

The event is being put together by the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture and Qatar’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry, where business people from Nigeria will engage their counterparts from Qatar on commercial and investment opportunities available in both countries.






     

     

    “We note the strong bilateral relationship between our two countries and affirm that the State Visit by President Bola Tinubu to Qatar is at the invitation of the Emir of Qatar, Sheik Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani.

    “The State Visit is particularly aimed at strengthening the bilateral economic cooperation between Nigeria and Qatar,” the Presidency insisted.

    The presidency said NACCIMA and Qatar Chambers of Commerce and Industry, were collaborating to take advantage of President Tinubu’s visit to Doha to mobilise the business community from two countries to explore opportunities in key economic sectors such as oil & gas, manufacturing, agro-business, construction, real estate, ICT, Renewable Energy, Solid Minerals and service sector, among others.

    It noted that the two leaders are committed to maintaining and building on the existing cordial and special relationship between Nigeria and the State of Qatar.

    Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in society. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.

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