Monday , 15 April 2024

Update : Reports debunked, Tinubu’s visit to Qatar is not cancelled, Says Onanuga

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.

A correspondence between the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Abuja and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about state of preparedness for a business sidelines meeting, had been leaked to the public and misrepresented in the media to mean that President Tinubu’s visit had been rejected by the Qatari government.

However, providing an explanation in a statement Saturday evening, 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.

It further explained that the controversial ‘snub’ report was a misrepresentation of the correspondence over a planned business event between Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and Qatar’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry where business people from Nigeria will engage.

“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 2 and 3 March, 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.

“The Note Verbale is about a private sector-led Business and Investment Forum to be held on the margins of President Bola Tinubu’s State Visit.

“The event 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 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 on the invitation of the Emir of Qatar, His Highness, Sheik Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani.

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

“NACCIMA and Qatar Chambers of Commerce and Industry are collaborating to take advantage of President Tinubu’s visit to Doha to mobilise the business community from our 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.

“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.

“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.

“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”, the statement said.

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