Nigeria is determined to change her “crawling” narrative, Tinubu tells German Chancellor, Scholz


* Says distraction of elections litigation is over
* Over 12,000 asylum seekers, risking deportation, are welcome home

President Bola Tinubu has told German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, who is on a State Visit to Nigeria, that even though the country is still crawling, his administration is determined to change the narrative and bring about a transformative government in the country.

He spoke during Bilateral Political Talks with the German Chancellor and his delegation.

The visit, according to the President, aimed to strengthen bilateral relations between Germany and Nigeria.

He said: “Nigeria is still crawling, but we are determined to change the narrative and bring about a transformative government in the country.

“You are very welcome with your delegation to partner with us in terms of education, power, mineral ⁷ all the other opportunities.”

Tinubu said his administration had done a lot to tackle the issue of insecurity in the country but that Nigeria still needs support in order to be able to sustain democracy.

The President said: “We have gone a long way to bring about security of our people.
We’re fighting terrorism and that is improving. We still need support very much in that area. And for us to be able to sustain democracy, rule of law, and freedom for our people, we need to fight for democracy. And democracy must win at all times for us to meet the expectation of an African dream.

“That is why your visit this time around is more than necessary and welcome. I hope you will enjoy yourself.

“You would have noticed, I don’t need to go about the various problems happening in the Sahel region of Africa. You’ve seen and noticed the coup in Guinea and recently in Niger Republic.

“We have people diplomatically managing the situation. The need for you to help in that of security will be empahsised and we will continue to require your knowledge.

“We thank you for the past contributions, particularly police, law enforcement training. We need more help.”

Speaking on last Thursday’s Supreme Court’s verdict confirming him as the winner of the February 25th presidential election, President said the distraction was over which gives his administration more time to focus on governance for the people and moving Nigeria forward for economic opportunities and prosperity.

He said: “It is a profound pleasure for me to welcome my friend Olaf Scholz to Nigeria. It is a joy to see you here. At this particular period of time. It is just about a few days ago that the Supreme Court of Federal Republic of Nigeria had a final say on our electoral exercise. The distraction is over.

“This gives us more time to focus on governance for the people and moving Nigeria forward for economic opportunities and prosperity that will defend democracy.”

He commended Scholz for keeping his promise of visiting Nigeria.

He assured that the country’s economic team was ready to partner “with Germany as the largest economy in Europe and the largest economy in Africa is Nigeria, you know that.

“We are blessed with a good environment, weather, and mineral resources. Our hydrocarbon industry is still fledging environmentally while we are moving towards the transition energy source.

“I know Germany has advanced a lot in protecting the environment, and modernising energy to meet the 21st century needs both of the world and Europe in particular.”

German Chancellor Scholz assured President Tinubu that his country was committed to democracy and the rule of law.

He said: “We are all committed to democracy and the rule of law. And it is important for us to make this a lifestyle for countries. It is good for a better future for our people. And so I’m very happy that we can work on this discussion.”

He further assured that Germany will continue to support Nigeria in addressing the issue of insecurity, saying, “I can assure you that we will continue our support and our cooperation also in this field.”

Scholz hinted at Germany continued support and economic cooperation and leveraging on Nigeria’s economic opportunities for his country.

“One of the main aspects for cooperation will be developing the economy and using the economic opportunities of your country. As you already said, there are a lot of chances not just from gas and oil, which is traditionally linked to your country, but there’s a lot of room for improvement and for better using the capacities of your country, but also for going into investments for the future, which is about hydrogen and all the things that are important for an economy that is able to produce all the necessary goods for the people without harming the environment.

“It is also important that we use the way of developing your economy in the fields of the minerals you have. I think that the investments into this structure must be easy, but also benefitting your country.”

Speaking at the Government-to-Business Roundtable, President Tinubu told the visitors that his administration is conversant with the characteristics of a typical business environment, hence the reason for the series of reforms and policy readjustments the nation’s has seen in recent times.

According to him, because his administration is cognizant of the fact that investments don’t do well an environment of delays and conflicts, much had been put in place, including tax reforms to free the system of multiple taxations, to ensure foreign investments are preserved and returns multiplied.

“Nigeria has gone through a lot of reforms, yet we cannot be 100% sure everything goes smoothly. Some of you might not be here while we were discussing the rule of law, I know…for businesses, particularly investors, because I’ve been in that environment before, I am from that constituency; I was once a Treasurer ExxonMobile in Nigeria, so I can understand the pain and delays of investment, I can understand the pain and delays of conflict in any business partnership and you cannot remove conflicts from the process, but you can minimize it. But how well the investor’s investment is protected is very clearly very important.

“Investment is cowardly, it doesn’t like delays and conflicts, it will run away, we understand that. Equally, time management to promote efficiency and smooth operation under the rule of law is crucially important.

“We are reforming our economic and business environment to promote efficiency. You might have read or been aware that we have removed oil subsidy, we’re going through tax reforms to eliminate double taxation and give you better returns on investments and there are principles that will ensure your investments grows well and is protected.

“We definitely welcome you to the collaboration. We’re happy this is happening to us. I believe that my friend will add more to the value of Nigeria’s environment. We have discussed that, I’ve made a commitment to you that we’ll promote the efficiency, ease-of-doing-business, and remove all conflict areas that might be possible immediately”, he said.

Responding to a question of the federal government refusing to accept over 12,000 Nigerians seeking asylum in Germany that risk deport, Tinubu, said they were welcome to return home. He, however, disclosed that both countries were working on regularising the stay of those who are economic refugees according to the immigration law of the country.

He said: “We had a very deep discussion on this, and you have to separate the economic refugees from real refugees. We have a programme to work in partnership to really ensure normal migration and deepen the relationship in that area. I’m not making any demands. If they are Nigerian citizens, they are Nigerian citizens, and they are welcome back home. Nothing should send them away. We are ready to enter into partnership to improve the migration situation since other young and vibrant people can go through the process according to the immigration law of the country to accept them as long as they are of good behaviour and good character. We are ready to work together in that direction.”
The German Chancellor said the debate is on, and very soon, the grey areas will be fixed.

He said: “And the first is yes, there is a need in Germany for people that have talent and that want to work in our country in a way which is a regular path for migrants. And we are working intensely in this field, and we want to get more progress and get things agreed in detail. And the second is that part of this is also an agreement that those who have not the right to stay in my country can go back and should go back and this is part of something that is a win win story for the two countries and in this sense, we had a debate and I think we will fix it very soon.”

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