Presidency Wednesday refuted claims in some quarters that the recent trip of President Muhammadu Buhari to the United States gulped the sum of N2.2 billion.
Reacting to a newspaper report, the presidency said that the trip did not cost anything close to 10 percent of the speculated figure.
A statement by the presidential media aide, Mallam Garba Shehu stated that it was “very sad that in this age of free-flowing information and in this era of CHANGE, a media organization would make itself available as a vehicle to peddle a lie of such low and ignominious quality.”
It added that “the total cost of the trip to the Nigerian taxpayer was at the most minimal, in line with the policy of this administration to cut waste and extravagance.”
Shehu in the statement explained all the personal staff of the president who were on the team received reduced allowance.
He also stated that that the 5 governors who accompanied the president personally paid their bills just the Permanent Secretaries allowances were paid in accordance with due process and extant laws.
He also explained that the president’s son who was on the trip received no allowance whatsoever.
“Owing to the free accommodation provided by the host government, all the personal staff who accompanied the President on the trip received reduced allowances.
“His son, Yusuf, received neither allowances nor estacode. The five Governors on the trip each paid his own way. Permanent Secretaries who traveled on the delegation did so in accordance with extant rules and none of them exceeded their estacode entitlements.
“Apart from the Nigerian Pilot’s mischievous mathematics, it is shortsighted and misleading of the newspaper to have claimed that President Buhari’s trip to the U.S. achieved nothing.”
The presidential spokesman however stated that the trip was very necessary as it had reactivated the cold relationship Nigeria hitherto had with the U.S, even as he mentioned the proposed $2.1 billion fund from the World Bank for the re-development of the northeast battered by Boko Haram as among the benefits of the foreign trip
“Nigerian-US relations had suffered severely over the past few years. That relationship has now been reset. The benefits of this symbiotic relationship will become more and more evident as the Buhari administration continues to tackle the challenges of corruption, security and the economy.
“Some of the more immediate benefits of the President’s trip to the U.S include: the proposed $2.1 billion fund from the World Bank for the re-development of the northeast battered by Boko Haram; $5 billion from US investors in Nigeria’s agriculture sector; $1.5 billion investment in the Nigerian health sector; and another $5 billion investment from the U.S. in our country’s power sector.
“Also, as things stand at the moment, the embargo on the sale of weapons sales to Nigeria is in the process of being removed.
“The trip to the U.S by President Buhari was definitely very successful and beneficial to Nigeria.
“Only those rabidly determined to find faults unnecessarily will cook up falsehood in a futile effort to rake up murk where none exists”, Shehu said.