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Presidency Refutes Claims Of N2.2 Billion As Cost Of Buhari’s US Trip

*Says Cost Hugely Over Exaggerated

By Niyi Adeyi – The Presidency has refuted the media reports claiming an estimated N2.2 Billion as the total cost of President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent trip to United States (US).

The rebuttal which was contained in a release issued Wednesday by Buhari’s Senior Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the Presidency held that it was very sad that, in this age of free-flowing information and era of change, a media organization would constitute itself as a vehicle to peddle a lie of such “low and ignominious quality”.

“Contrary to the newspaper’s assertions, 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.

“In point of fact, the total amount expended on the trip by the Office of the President amounted to nothing near ten per cent of the speculated figure” Garba asserted.

The statement added that owing to the free accommodation provided by the host government, all the personal staff who accompanied the President on the trip received reduced allowances, adding that President Buhari’s son, Yusuf, received neither allowances nor estacode, while 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.

“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 US in our country’s power sector” the Presidency contended.

Still on benefits of the trip, the release said the embargo on the sales of weapons to Nigeria was in the process of being removed, hitting “Only those rabidly determined to find faults unnecessarily will cook up falsehood in a futile effort to rake up murk where none exists”.



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