By James Ezema
President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday left Makkah through Abdulaziz International Airport Jeddah for the United Kingdom.
There have been speculations that the Nigerian leader would use the visit to UK to attend to his health. Abuja Business Reports was unable to confirm the validity of such claims at press time.
However, he departed Makkah for Jeddah at about 1.30pm (local time) while his presidential aircraft took-off for London at exactly 3.05pm after he successfully performed the Lesser Hajj.
“President Buhari and the Crown Prince agreed that the first assignment for the Council is to establish a legal and operational framework that will facilitate investments beneficial to both countries.
“The Council will be established in the next two months while meetings will be held twice every year,’’ Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu had said in a statement on Thursday.
“To ensure that relations between both countries remain active, it was also agreed that leaders of both countries, at the highest level, will meet at least once every year to review the progress of the joint council and ensure closer collaboration on issues of mutual interest,” Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu disclosed.
President Buhari thanked the Crown Prince for the Kingdom’s interest in investing in Nigeria and the initiative to establish the Council which would form the foundation for a stronger Nigeria-Saudi relationship.
‘‘Nigeria has a large population mainly made up of dynamic, young people and partnerships of this type will help them to be productive and prosperous,’’ Shehu added.
President Buhari shared the view of the Crown Prince that with the collapse of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the next frontier for terrorism is the Sahel region.
The Nigerian leader also met with U.S Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin in Riyadh and they had positive discussions on investments in Nigeria under the new United States International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC).
The U.S. agency provides 60 billion dollars for investments in developing nations.
Speaking at the meeting held on the margins of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) forum, President Buhari said Nigeria would leverage on the U.S facility to address current challenges confronting the power sector as well as general upgrade of infrastructure.
The President thanked the U.S government for supporting Nigeria’s anti-terrorism efforts.