Nigeria president’s frequent foreign trips elicits social media reactions

Nigerians on social media platform Twitter have reacted sternly to the frequent overseas travel by president Muhammadu Buhari.

The septuagenarian joined his counterparts in Sochi last week for the Russia – Africa summit but he had barely spent two days on his return before the presidency announced that he was off to Saudi Arabia and then to the United Kingdom for a private visit.

His spokesman said the official trip to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was to enable him attend Economic Forum of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh.

“At the end of the summit, President Buhari will on Saturday 2nd November, 2019, proceed to the United Kingdom on a private visit. He is expected to return to Nigeria on 17th November, 2019,” Garba Shehu further stated.

It means that Buhari was going to be absent for a total of 20 days. Five days in Saudi and 15 days in the London.

Most people commenting on the development bemoaned that the frequency of the travels aside, they were happening at a time that equally if not more pressing domestic issues needed Buhari’s attention.

In an editorial titled “Buhari, stay at your duty post,” the local Punch news portal accused the president of abandoning his duty post in preference for foreign visits of dubious value.

“It (the travels) provocatively gives the impression of an uncaring president. Without opening up the economy and ensuring sound rule of law at home, foreign travels to attract investment is a complete waste of public fund.

“Short of administering the country from outer space, Buhari has made international travel a pet project. In the first three years of his first tenure, he was outside the country a combined 404 days. That is one year and 39 days in 33 countries,” the paper computed as at April 2019.

But Nigerians are not alone in expressing concerns over presidential travels. A top Kenyan newspaper in its October 30 edition led with a banner headline, “Uhuru makes 31 foreign trips in 21 months.”

The Kenyan leader is also in Saudi for the summit in Riyadh, along with presidents of Congo Brazzaville and Burkina Faso.

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