…SEEKS ECONOMIC COOPERATION WITH EU
…SPEAKS ON EU POSITION ON 2023 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
…UNVEILS PLANS TO ESTABLISH WOMEN DEVELOPMENT SECRETARIAT
1. The FCT Minister, Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike has called for partnerships and viable economic relations with the European Union in the areas of Agriculture, tourism and security in order to grow the economy of the nation’s capital.
2. Making the call in Abuja on Monday, October 9, 2023, while receiving the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Samuela Isopi, Barrister Wike declared that the FCT is open for cooperation and investments in these areas in order to address the economic challenges of the Territory.
3. The Minister who expressed the hope that increased cooperation and partnership in these areas would help to unlock the economic potentials of the FCT and create jobs for the teeming populace of the city, said, “I whole heartedly invite your member countries to pay us a courtesy call.
4. Speaking further, the Minister said “When I was Governor, one of the things I’ve always said is that I don’t believe in mere visits. I want us to concretize whatever we are going to do, not just coming to tell me we are here to partner with you, we are here to work with you. It’s good, but at the end of the day, the people will want to see what are the achievements, which for me is a priority.
5. “You know that Abuja is one of the best cities in terms of available facilities. The landscape is beautiful, it’s a tourist and agricultural area. These are areas we can partner with you sincerely. Maybe, when we meet with the member countries, it becomes specific, which of these areas we can deal with, maybe agriculture, tourism and security as the case may be.
6. As part of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Minister said the FCT Administration has submitted a proposal for the establishment of a Secretariat that will deal with women development issues, to ensure inclusivity and promote the participation of women in governance.
7. He said, “One of the priorities of Mr. President is inclusivity…I also know that the first lady, the wife of the President is also championing the development of women in terms of participating in governance.
8. “So, I know Mr. President will approve the establishment of Women Development Secretariat in FCT which was never there. There was no such Secretariat which we will say is devoted to women and I felt that was wrong. It is because the present government attaches so much importance to women and that’s why we are thinking of establishing it,” the Minister said.
9. Reacting to the position of the European Union Observation Mission on the recently concluded elections in the country, the Minister expressed his reservation on the actions of the EU for what he termed interference with the internal affairs of Nigeria.
10.The Minister who observed that the Mission did not have adequate personnel in the country to cover the elections, particularly in Rivers State, said that EU Mission’s position that the government stifled the opposition in the State was inaccurate.
11.He said, “Even though we have passed that era, but I think that I sincerely do not agree with the European Union on their stand on the past election in Nigeria. I do seriously take exception to their stand because we thought there is no need for you to interfere in Nigeria. Rather, you observe and make a recommendation. And your interference came when there were electoral tribunals going on.
12.“Like in Rivers State, I asked how many of you were in Rivers State to visit the 6,886 or thereabout number of polling units. Sometimes, you send in one or two persons and I ask you, how do you know. So, if you have seen some infractions in about 20 polling units, is that enough to make a general conclusion? I felt that as a sitting Governor, you were trying to indict me of not allowing the State to have a free democratic process. That is not correct.
13.The Minister however stressed that the priority now is how the EU can support Nigeria to grow her economy and create jobs to positively impact the lives of the citizens.
14.In her response, EU Ambassador to Nigeria Ms Samuela Isopi explained that the report on the outcome of the elections in Nigeria was that of the European Union Election Observation Mission, which is an independent observation mission deployed by the European Union at the request of the Nigerian government.
15.The Ambassador stated that the purpose of the mission and many other missions in other countries, is to assess the process of the elections against international agreements and treaties signed and ratified by Nigeria.
16.The purpose, she said was not to determine whether the elections were legitimate or not but to analyze the process and afterwards make recommendations, adding that the report had offered 26 recommendations.
17.On the areas of cooperation with Nigeria and the FCT, the Ambassador said the EU is refocusing its cooperation towards improving agricultural value chains to assist with the economic diversification agenda of the country and is also working on renewable energy projects in the country.
DIRECTOR OF PRESS
(OFFICE OF THE MINISTER)