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Re: Towards Utmost Freedom and Less of Sloganeering on Nigeria’s Foreign Policy in 2024

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Re: Towards Utmost Freedom and Less of Sloganeering on Nigeria’s Foreign Policy in 2024

By: Bashir Aliyu

I read a lopsided article by Babafemi A. Badejo who called into question the new foreign policy concepts under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, singling out the 4D principles that now underpin the tenets of Nigeria’s foreign policy as the butt of his blurred outlook over how Nigeria’s diplomatic engagements should look like.

Without bandying words, Dr Babafemi raised key issues that if left unanswered may end up confusing many a reader given his position as a reputable lecturer on international relations.

While Mr Babafemi tried to juxtapose the Tinubu Doctrine or specifically the 4D foreign policy concepts with the Monroe Doctrine that the US adopted in 1823 (not 1843 as stated by the author) as a measure to deter European powers from further recolonizing countries in the Western Hemisphere, Nigeria’s new foreign policy direction is never meant to mimic any foreign power nor is it meant to exert its diplomatic cloud on any sovereign state. The geopolitical reality in our region coupled with the urgency for Nigeria to play more active roles in safeguarding not only our national interest and security but also the stability of our region by citizens who are unarguably the largest diaspora population in Africa. Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar repeatedly made it clear that the 4D Foreign Policy is not just mere sloganeering but a strategy to scrunch down “action plans of programmes into more manageable and comprehensible headlines.”

Another point that needs clarification is the solipsistic suggestion that Nigeria should prioritize economic development at the expense of democracy, alluding to the spate of military coups in West Africa and the diplomatic stand-off that strained relationship between Nigeria/ECOWAS and Niger junta. But for the avoidance of doubt, Nigeria never unilaterally planned to take military action against Niger as most of its policies are coordinated with the ECOWAS member states. Nigeria is in favour of a diplomatic solution, and the economic sanctions imposed on the junta are meant to pressure them to release Bazoum Muhammad and provide a clear pathway for the restoration of democracy in the country.

As noted by Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria as the largest democracy in Africa cannot continue to fold its hands as West Africa descends into constitutional crises with six successful coups in just two years. The coups were a huge setback for the fight against terrorism in West Africa as many international partners withdrew or froze their cooperations with the military juntas which are critical to both the fight against terrorism and humanitarian support. Peace and good governance are an integral part of the development of any nation. The development in Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso is a watershed moment for the ECOWAS member states like Nigeria who have invested so much in multinational cooperation, regional integration, and international commitment only to be disrupted by military coups.

According to Mr. Omar Alieu Touray, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, a series of military coups in West Africa is a huge setback for the fight against terror, noting that there were 1503 incidences of terrorist attacks recorded in Burkina Faso from 1st to October 22, 2023, 1044 in Mali, and 376 in Niger since the coup. Furthermore, Ambassador Tuggar revealed during his speech that Burkina Faso, being one of the poorest countries in the world, now only control about 40% of its country.

Democracy in West Africa is under assault and Nigeria has what it takes to help reverse the trend which poses an existential threat not only to our national security but to the stability of the entire region. The problem with military juntas is they are not known for respecting human rights, law and order, and lack of transparency when it comes to their obligation to international law and regional treaties is often responsible for worsening instability that often hampers our fight against organized crimes and terrorism. As a democratic nation, Nigeria has a vital role to play in entrenching democracy in Africa, and military coup in the region especially West Africa is an anathema to economic growth and international cooperation.

Moreover, as a matter of national interest, prioritizing democracy provides Nigeria with a clear direction to assert its interests on the global stage as evidenced by the recent success of Nigeria’s diplomatic overture at the G2O Summit in Delhi which saw the inclusion of the African Union as a full member.

As for Development, which is another key tenet of Nigeria’s foreign policy priority under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Nigeria’s foreign policy seeks to use diplomacy in line with the Nigerian constitution to enhance economic growth, agricultural value chain and technology to provide Nigerians with job opportunities. Nigeria with its teeming population of over 220 million people has a lot to benefit from the ongoing efforts to attract investment from international investors. As stated by Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, infrastructure alone can add 10-12% to our GDP which is enough to lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty. When it comes to international diplomacy, our population is a huge advantage as we have sufficient manpower and human resources to collaborate with countries such as India in the areas of ICT, movie industry, agriculture and bilateral trade which are sure to have an immediate impact on the wellbeing of Nigerians as a whole.

It is noteworthy that Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar is a veteran diplomat whose years of experience can enable our country to engage in more achievable goals. Nigeria is in throes of transition, and the urgency caused by rapidly changing world with competing interests, and Tuggar will continue to fight for what is best for Nigeria in terms of its national interests and the development of its people in line with the international law.

The Tinubu Doctrine is here to stay, and I am sure, and the rest of the world would sooner or later come to see the impact of the 4D foreign policy.

To this end, I call on Dr Babafemi A. Badejo not to be pessimistic about Nigeria’s foreign policy direction. The Tinubu Doctrine is borne out of the urgency to help Nigeria overcome many of its challenges such as development and the welfare of Nigerians abroad.

** Bashir Aliyu works as newspaper editor and geopolitical and international affairs commentator. He can be reached at bashiralmusawi@gmail.com

Re: Towards Utmost Freedom and Less of Sloganeering on Nigeria’s Foreign Policy in 2024

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Hardship: Zulum addresses IDPs threatening to go to bush, says I can’t do more

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Hardship: Zulum addresses IDPs threatening to go to bush, says I can’t do more

By: Our Reporter

Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, on Sunday, said his administration cannot do more regarding distributing food items to internally displaced persons and vulnerable residents.

Zulum stated this in Mafa while addressing a group of internally displaced persons who have protested, threatening to go to the bush where Boko Haram terrorists camped.

The governor expressed displeasure over the action, and he said, “Yesterday, I received a report that some IDPs in Dikwa have protested that they will return to the bush because we could not provide food for them. This afternoon, others in Mafa have also done the same.”

Zulum said, “In the last couple of years, we have consistently provided food to internally displaced and vulnerable people. Believe me, what we are doing is even beyond our capacity.

“In the last four years, the Government of Borno State spent nothing less than N40b to provide food and non-food items to the people of the state.”

The governor said, “No government, be it state or federal, has the capacity to provide food to everyone and let me categorically state that I cannot do more than this,”

“The hardship we are facing is not only in Borno State but all over Nigeria. There are economic crises in all parts of the world. No state in Nigeria is doing better in the distribution of palliative than Borno,” Zulum stated.

He added, “We distributed food to IDPs and vulnerable communities every quarter. However, with the improvement in the security situation, we decided to reduce the number of our distribution because people have started earning their livelihood.”

“Most of you here (more than 80%) now have access to agricultural land, and I believe you have cultivated your farmlands and harvested your farm produce.”

“Both state and federal governments spend huge amounts of money on security. We have realised substantial progress in terms of development and security. Let me be frank with you that we will not condone mischievous acts by anyone.

The governor expressed gratitude to the federal government for providing the needed support to attain substantial peace in Borno State.

Hardship: Zulum addresses IDPs threatening to go to bush, says I can’t do more

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Disputed Business and Investment Forum Now to Hold During President Tinubu’s Official Visit to Qatar- Embassy

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Disputed Business and Investment Forum Now to Hold During President Tinubu’s Official Visit to Qatar- Embassy

By: Michael Mike

The disputed Business and Investment Forum (BIF) planned during the proposed official visit of President Bola Tinubu to Qatar is now going to hold, the Embassy of Qatar in Nigeria has revealed in an official correspondence with Nigeria’s ministry of foreign affairs.

It would be recalled that a leak official correspondence between The Qatari government and Nigeria’s ministry of foreign affairs last week had said the forum would not be holding during Nigeria’s President planned visit on March 2 and 3 due to the lack of a legally binding agreement between Qatar and Nigeria for the promotion of investment.

The leaked correspondence had also said Qatar’s ministry of commerce had other commitments on the days Nigeria’s president desired to visit.

Qatar further stressed that its commerce and industry minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Thani “will be carrying out official missions outside the country during the upcoming visit period” which makes him unavailable to meet with the Nigerian side for business and investment purpose.

The country also added that its officials would be too busy because Qatar was hosting its own “web summit” the same time Nigeria’s president planned to visit.

“The State of Qatar will be hosting a web summit during the suggested period and the state’s authorities will be preoccupied with this event,” the letter stated.

But in the latest correspondence between the Embassy of Qatar in Nigeria and the Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that the Qatar Chamber of Commerce will host the event on 3rd March 2024, as proposed by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In the correspondence, the Embassy said it was glad to convey the readiness of Qatar Chamber of Commerce to host the forum to the Nigerian government.

Reacting to the latest correspondence in a statement on Sunday, the Special Adviser to Amb. Yusuf Tuggar, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alkasim Abdulkadir said the clarification has become necessary to clear deliberate misinformation and misrepresentations in the media on the purported cancellation of the event.

Disputed Business and Investment Forum Now to Hold During President Tinubu’s Official Visit to Qatar- Embassy

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Council of European Union’s Africa Working Group Begins 4-day Visit to Nigeria

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Council of European Union’s Africa Working Group Begins 4-day Visit to Nigeria

By: Michael Mike

Members of the Council of European Union’s Africa Working Party (COAFR) have arrived in Abuja to begin a four-day working visit to the country.

During the visit taking place from 26-29 February 2024, the COAFR members will engage with Nigerian authorities, government agencies, civil society groups, regional and international organisations and private sector actors in Abuja and in Lagos.

According to a statement on Sunday by the European Union in Nigeria, the Africa Working Party (COAFR) is mandated with the supervision and management of EU external policy towards the 46 countries of the sub-Saharan Africa, the African Union and other sub-regional organisations, including ECOWAS.

The Africa Working Party (COAFR) is composed of representatives of all 27 EU Member States, chaired by a permanent member of the European External Action Service (EEAS), and assisted by representatives of the Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council. It works under the auspices of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), itself composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and/or development of the 27 Member States of the European Union.

The statement said in Abuja, the visiting COAFR members will meet with key Federal Government ministries and agencies starting from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the National Security Adviser, the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, among others.

They will also have an interactive session with the ECOWAS Commission on regional developments and integration processes.
In Lagos, the COAFR is expected to meet with the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Consuls General of EU Member States, and the leadership of the European Business Chamber (EuroCham) Nigeria.

They will also visit several EU-funded projects in the state featuring digital and innovation, critical infrastructure and connectivity and migration. Deliberations during the meetings will centre on further boosting EU-Nigeria partnership.

The Africa Working Party’s (COAFR) visits to African countries aim at promoting direct contact, mutual information exchange and feedback between the political and foreign policy organs of the European Union and their African counterparts. They play an important role on taking stock of state and non-state actors views, perspectives, aspirations and expectations regarding their partnership with the European Union, its closest neighbour and its sister continent.

The team will commence a similar visit to the neighbouring Republic of Benin at the end of its current mission in Nigeria.

According to the statement, this is the group’s first-ever working visit to Nigeria, noting that in addition to the representatives of 17 EU Member States also officials from EU institutions, are expected to be in the team.

The statement further revealed that this year’s working visit will be the eleventh visit of the COAFR to the African continent, and the third visit to West Africa – following earlier visits to Senegal and Burkina Faso (2015) and Ivory Coast and Ghana (2019).

It said more than ever before, several top EU officials have visited Nigeria in recent years and months, underlining the importance the EU accords its partnership with the country.

Last October, the EU’s Commissioner for International Partnership, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, her counterpart for Energy, Ms. Kadri Simson, led other top officials to participate in the EU-Nigeria Strategic Dialogue Meeting held Abuja. The Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Ms Helena Konig, and the Managing Director, Africa at the EEAS, Ms. Rita Laranjinha, were also in the country shortly before then, following the visits in 2022 of European Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager in February 2022, EU and Member States Maritime Security Coordinators in April 2022 and senior officials of the European Commission in charge of Energy and Home Affairs.
is mandated with the supervision and management of EU external policy towards the 46 countries of the sub-Saharan Africa, the African Union and other sub-regional organisations, including ECOWAS.

The Africa Working Party (COAFR) is composed of representatives of all 27 EU Member States, chaired by a permanent member of the European External Action Service (EEAS), and assisted by representatives of the Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council. It works under the auspices of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), itself composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and/or development of the 27 Member States of the European Union.

In Abuja, the visiting COAFR members will meet with key Federal Government ministries and agencies starting from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the National Security Adviser, the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, among others. They will also have an interactive session with the ECOWAS Commission on regional developments and integration processes.

In Lagos, the COAFR is expected to meet with the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Consuls General of EU Member States, and the leadership of the European Business Chamber (EuroCham) Nigeria.

They will also visit several EU-funded projects in the state featuring digital and innovation, critical infrastructure and connectivity and migration. Deliberations during the meetings will centre on further boosting EU-Nigeria partnership.

The Africa Working Party’s (COAFR) visits to African countries aim at promoting direct contact, mutual information exchange and feedback between the political and foreign policy organs of the European Union and their African counterparts. They play an important role on taking stock of state and non-state actors views, perspectives, aspirations and expectations regarding their partnership with the European Union, its closest neighbour and its sister continent. The team will commence a similar visit to the neighbouring Republic of Benin at the end of its current mission in Nigeria.

This is the group’s first-ever working visit to Nigeria. In addition to the representatives of 17 EU Member States also officials from EU institutions, are expected to be in the team. This year’s working visit will be the eleventh visit of the COAFR to the African continent, and the third visit to West Africa – following earlier visits to Senegal and Burkina Faso (2015) and Ivory Coast and Ghana (2019).
More than ever before, several top EU officials have visited Nigeria in recent years and months, underlining the importance the EU accords its partnership with the country. Last October, the EU’s Commissioner for International Partnership, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, her counterpart for Energy, Ms. Kadri Simson, led other top officials to participate in the EU-Nigeria Strategic Dialogue Meeting held Abuja. The Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Ms Helena Konig, and the Managing Director, Africa at the EEAS, Ms. Rita Laranjinha, were also in the country shortly before then, following the visits in 2022 of European Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager in February 2022, EU and Member States Maritime Security Coordinators in April 2022 and senior officials of the European Commission in charge of Energy and Home Affairs.

Council of European Union’s Africa Working Group Begins 4-day Visit to Nigeria

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