Why Many Countries Are Rejecting Nigerian Exports – Foreign Minister

A file photo of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.
A file photo of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama on Saturday lamented the rejection of Nigerian exports by other countries.

Mr Onyeama was speaking at a meeting in Abuja with the Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Olusegun Awolowo.

According to the Minister, the quality of products, especially agricultural products, do not meet the export standards of many countries.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a comparative and unique advantage to be physically present in over a 100 countries in the world,” he said.

“Now this represents truly a unique opportunity to leverage on that presence to export and trade our goods.

“There are a number of countries around the world not blessed with the natural resources that we have but yet, through trade, have transformed their societies and have become major economic powers.

“In engaging with a number of countries, we have seen that, especially in the agriculture sector, the phytosanitary aspect is very important.

“We are being denied market access into a lot of countries because of the quality of the products. And this is costing us huge resources. So I think that your agency (NEPC) also has a lot of work to do.”

Mr Onyeama added the Federal Government will focus on strengthening economic diplomacy in ensuring Nigeria benefits from countries it has formal relationships with.

On his part, NEPC chief Mr Awolowo expressed confidence that the Federal Government’s efforts will lead to the agency’s realisation of $30 billion from non-oil export by 2025.

25 Newly Appointed Ambassadors Receive Letters Of Credence

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, speaks during a meeting at his office in Abuja on August 17, 2020.

 

Twenty-five ambassadors designate newly appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday received their letters of credence.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama who presented the letters to the diplomats cautioned them to be financially prudent in their countries of the mission.

According to him, Nigeria’s resources are lean at the moment, hence the need for them to be financially disciplined.

Onyeama also charged the diplomats to consider themselves as economic ambassadors whose responsibilities include attracting investments into Nigeria, just as he called on them to represent the country in a manner that promotes its positive image.

Thirteen of those presented with the letter of credence are ambassadors designate, while twelve are deputy ambassadors designate.

Borno Refugees: Zulum Meets Foreign Affairs Minister Over Repatriation From Cameroon

 

Borno Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum Thursday met Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama to conclude intergovernmental efforts for voluntary repatriation of thousands of Borno citizens currently taking refuge in parts of Cameroon, after fleeing from Boko Haram attacks in batches, within the last six years.

The meeting which held at the federal ministry of foreign affairs in Abuja was a follow up to Zulum’s series of meetings with the minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management, and social development, Sadiya Umar Farouk, top executives of the National Commission for refugees, migrants, and internally displaced persons, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, among and other stakeholders.

The Thursday meeting, which held behind closed doors, discussed the role of the federal ministry of foreign affairs which has the mandate to facilitate the repatriation through diplomatic channels, with the hope to undertake it, in January 2021.

READ ALSO: 2021: Buhari Has Not Demonstrated Capacity To Play His Part – PDP

The meeting was attended by Nigeria’s serving Ambassador to China, Amb. Baba Ahmad Jidda, who was there as a statesman from Borno state.

More than 60,000 Nigerian refugees, the majority from Borno and some from Adamawa states are believed to be in Minwao camp in Cameroon, which Zulum had visited and supported with social protection relief.

The governor has also approved the ongoing construction of thousands of houses in which repatriated refugees will be permanently resettled in safe communities.

Zulum was also in the Niger Republic and the republic of chad where Borno citizens are always there as refugees who fled insurgent attacks.

In both countries, the governor authorized and supervised the distribution of food items and cash relief to thousands of families, some of whom the governor had to cross Lake Chad waters in order to reach the Baga Sola refugee camp within the Chadian border territory. N50m was distributed to 5,000 families in the area less than three weeks ago.

Within that same period, Zulum was in N’Djamena in Chad and was hosted by President Idris Deby to discuss the repatriation of thousands of Nigerian refugees, the majority from Borno.

The meeting, held at the presidential palace, was attended by Nigerian ambassador to Chad, Zannah Umar Bukar Kolo, who represented Nigeria’s federal ministry of foreign affairs.

Onyeama: FG Considering Options Over Treatment Of Nigerian Traders In Ghana

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, speaks during a meeting at his office in Abuja on August 17, 2020.

 

The Federal Government says it is considering its options over the poor treatment of Nigerian traders in Ghana.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, stated this on Monday in Abuja when he received officials of the League of Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria.

Onyeama told the group that they have summoned the Ghanaian High Commissioner who has given them information.

He added that they planned to invite the Nigerian Charge D’Affaires in Ghana for consultations and to also get more facts.

“We are also going to get in touch with ECOWAS to also understand clearly what the ECOWAS perspective on this is. If this law is in contravention of the ECOWAS protocol.

“Once we have all the facts, then we will consider all our options with the Ghanaian government. We don’t want to anticipate now what our actions would be, but all the options will be there, depending on the facts,” said the minister.

According to him, if the government finds out that the said law clearly contravenes ECOWAS protocol, then they might consider an ECOWAS solution, including the ECOWAS court as the final arbiter.

“We will also have to look at reciprocity … in terms of the concrete measures that can be contemplated,” he stated.

Jasper Emenike, who led the group, told Onyeama that authorities in Ghana closed shops owned by Nigerian traders and called for the intervention of the Federal Government.

The Ghanaian authorities were said to have taken the action over the alleged failure of the traders to register with the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC).

Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama Tests Positive For COVID-19

A file photo of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has tested positive for COVID-19.

He disclosed this himself via Twitter on Sunday.

According to Onyeama, he tested positive after his fourth COVID-19 test on Saturday after he developed symptoms of a throat irritation.

He further stated that he is now heading for isolation in a health facility.

“Did my fourth COVID-19 test yesterday at the first sign of a throat irritation and unfortunately this time it came back positive.

“That is life! win some lose some. Heading for isolation in a health facility and praying for the best,” the Minister said.

 

 

Read Also: 653 New Infections As Nigeria’s COVID-19 Cases Exceed 36,000

 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

 

Evacuations Ongoing

Onyeama is one of those who has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 fight in Nigeria since the pandemic began to ravage the country.

At several briefings by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, he had assured Nigerians of efforts being made to curb the spread of the virus especially with regards to plans for Nigerians stuck outside the country.

Flight operations had been shut in the wake of the pandemic to curb the rate of transmissions but in April, the Minister announced that several countries, including Canada, Israel, and the United States, had begun evacuating their citizens.

But the evacuation of Nigerians in other countries was delayed a bit as the government said it needed some time to sort out the logistics involved.

Subsequently, Mr Onyeama directed all citizens interested in returning to the country to work with Nigeria’s embassies and high commissions wherever they were.

At another briefing, the minister noted that the protocols for evacuating Nigerians in the Diaspora had been completed and the country was in a much “stronger and better position” to bring back citizens interested in returning to the country.

Since then, Nigerians across the world have been repatriated to the country in their hundreds, including the 134 who just arrived in Abuja from Sudan today.

 

A photo collage of Nigerians repatriated from various countries across the world in the past couple of weeks.

 

All evacuees are, however, expected to embark on a 14-day self-isolation, in line with the guidelines by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Ministry of Health.

In a series of tweets today, Onyeama also noted that another 22 Nigerians are on their way from France.

 

 

Over 36,000 Cases

Despite the precautions put in place by the government, the number of COVID-19 infections in the country has continued to rise.

As of today, Nigeria has 36,107 cases, with Lagos taking the lead as the state with the highest number of infections in the country.

14,938 persons have recovered from the virus and have been discharged from Isolation centres, while 778 have unfortunately died including top government officials like the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari and more recently, the Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, among others.

324 Nigerians Evacuated By FG Arrive In Abuja From US

The stranded Nigerians at the Newark Airport, New Jersey are being expected into the country July 18, 2020. Credit: Geoffrey Onyeama
The stranded Nigerians at the Newark Airport, New Jersey were expected in the country on July 18, 2020. Credit: Geoffrey Onyeama

 

The 324 Nigerians evacuated by the Federal Government from the United States have landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Channels Television can confirm.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama announced their departure from Newark Airport, New Jersey, on Twitter Saturday morning.

In his earlier tweet, Onyeama noted that the flight left the American soil on Friday and is due to arrive at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 15:35 pm Saturday.

READ ALSO: FG Evacuates 324 Nigerians From US

Channels Television confirmed their arrival Saturday afternoon.

The flight is part of efforts to bring back stranded Nigerians abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands of Nigerians have been evacuated back home from across the world since the pandemic disrupted world travel.

In early June, the Federal Government said it has spent N169 million on the evacuation of Nigerians returning from overseas.

At least two more evacuation flights are expected from the country on July 28 and 31 respectively, Onyeama said on Saturday.

Meanwhile, 212 Nigerians are also expected to arrive Abuja on Saturday via Turkish Airlines from Cyprus, the Minister added in a later tweet.

“Some of the evacuees are Nigerian students from Cyprus, Nigerian professionals in Turkey, and few Nigerian professional footballers,” Onyeama said.

 

FG Evacuates 324 Nigerians From US

The stranded Nigerians at the Newark Airport, New Jersey are being expected into the country July 18, 2020. Credit: Geoffrey Onyeama

 

The Federal Government has evacuated another batch of 324 Nigerians who are stranded in the United States of America.

This was revealed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama on Saturday via Twitter.

According to him, the Nigerian returnees are being expected into the country from Newark Airport, New Jersey.

Onyeama noted that the flight left the American soil on Friday and is due to arrive at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 15:35 pm today.

The Minister explained that following the development of the third evacuation of these citizens, two more evacuation flights are expected from the country on July 28 and 31 respectively.

READ ALSO: 335 Stranded Nigerians Return From U.S.

“The third evacuation flight from the #USA has departed Newark, New Jersey to Abuja with 324 Nigerians. The flight departed 23:27hrs on Friday 17th to arrive at about 15:35 pm today.

“Two more evacuation flights are expected from the US to Abuja and Lagos, on the 28th and 31st of this month,” he said.

The Nigerian government had on July 4 evacuated 335 stranded citizens from the US as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) who confirmed this to Channels Television said the evacuees tested negative for COVID-19 before boarding.

It, however, stated that they would remain in 14-day isolation before reuniting with their families.

Over 2,000 Nigerians have so far been evacuated from various parts of the world, among those who have indicated interest to return home following the COVID-19 pandemic.

See Photos Below:

PHOTOS: Buhari Holds Virtual Farewell Meeting With Chinese Ambassador

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has held a virtual farewell meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian.

The meeting took place on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

In attendance are the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari and the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama among other government officials.

See photos below:

COVID-19: FG Approves Evacuation Flight For Stranded Nigerians In US

 

The Federal Government is to evacuate another batch of stranded Nigerians from New York, the United States of America.

This was confirmed by the Nigeria Consulate in New York via a statement issued on Friday.

It noted that the Nigerian government had approved a third evacuation flight from the Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey to carry the evacuees from July 17, 2020.

While calling on Nigerians to register with any of the missions in the country, the citizens were asked to purchase their ticket between $1,250 and $2,800 pending on the class.

READ ALSO: 145 Nigerians Stranded In Sudan Return Home

According to the statement, prospective evacuees will undergo the necessary guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

One of such measures is that “all prospective evacuees must present an original COVID-19 negative test result not older than 14 days at the airport of departure and undergo a temperature check four hours before departure.

“Any intending evacuees without the stipulated test result, or body temperature above 38 degrees centigrade, or any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, will not be allowed to check-in.”

Similarly, the citizens were advised to be in possession of a hand sanitiser throughout the journey, while wearing their face masks.

Alleged Discrimination: Nigerians Attack Nigerian Embassy In Indonesia

 

Some Nigerians in Indonesia on Thursday attacked the Nigerian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia over alleged discrimination and infringement of their rights by Indonesian immigration officials.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, confirmed the attack in a tweet on his official handle, saying there is no justification for the attack.

While lamenting the development, he said efforts are being made to identify those behind the “disgraceful” incident and punish them accordingly.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Four For Public Peace Disturbances In Ogun

“Absolutely deplorable and disgraceful criminal behaviour by Nigerian hooligans who without justification attacked the Nigerian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia today,” the minister said.

“Every effort will be made to identify them and see they are severely punished. Totally unacceptable behaviour.”

In videos trending online, some Nigerians were seen attacking the Embassy and chanting, “Nigeria is not helping us in this country. We don’t have an Embassy. We no go ‘gree.”

Some of them were seen destroying a white bus on the Embassy’s premises with others vandalising windows and doors of the building.

The protesters equally brought down the Nigerian flag and tore it to shreds.

 

 

Attack On Embassy In Ghana Was Carried Out By Non-State Actor, Says Onyeama

A file photo of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

 

 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, says the Ghanaian Government has apologised to Nigeria over the attack on its High Commission in Ghana.

While addressing reporters on Monday at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the minister promised to ensure those behind the attack were brought to book.

According to him, the attack was reportedly carried out by non-state actors, a group of people who are claiming ownership of the same land where the Nigeria High Commission cited.

“What we can say is that it was a non-state actor that was involved; it was not the government and it was not government-sanctioned,” Onyeama said.

He added, “We have engaged with the highest level of authority in Ghana, it appears that they have some people claiming that they have legitimate entitle over that piece of land.”

A businessman had on Friday last week demolished the staff quarters of the Nigeria High Commission in Ghana, claiming the structure was built on his land.

The authorities in Nigeria and Ghana have condemned the incident.

FG Summons Ghanaian Envoy Over Demolition Of Embassy Quarters

the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, with the Charge d’ Affaires of the High Commission of Ghana to Nigeria, Iva Denoo. PHOTO: [email protected]

 

 

The Nigerian Government has summoned the Charge d’ Affaires of the High Commission of Ghana to Nigeria, Iva Denoo.

Denoo was summoned by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, over the demolition of the staff quarters of the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana.

Mr Onyeama disclosed this on Monday via a post on his verified Twitter handle.

During the meeting, the minister said he demanded an urgent explanation of the incident and reinforcement of security around Nigeria’s diplomatic premises and staff in Ghana.

 

The meeting held three days after a businessman demolished the building, claiming the structure was built on his land.

According to sources, the man showed up last week with some pieces of evidence to support his claim and began to knock down the fence surrounding the building.

He was said to have returned to the scene on Friday last week with a bulldozer and began to pull down the building.

The authorities in Nigeria and Ghana have condemned the incident.

See photos of the meeting between the minister and the Ghanaian envoy below: