PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has apparently canceled his planned trip to Kigali, Rwanda, to participate in Wednesday’s Extraordinary Meeting of African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government.
While in attendance, he would have signed the framework agreement for the establishment of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had last Wednesday approved that Nigeria should sign it during the Kigali meeting despite opposition from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
Going by the initial arrangement, the president would have left for Kigali on Monday.
The first set of his delegation had already arrived the East African country while the second set was recalled from Lagos on Saturday where they had been scheduled to fly to Kigali.
While briefing State House corespondents on the outcome of FEC presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, had justified Buhari’s signing of the agreement, saying that there were benefits to be derived from endorsing the agreement.
He also disclosed that Nigeria was bidding to host the headquarters/secretariat of the AfCFTA.
The Presidency had also issued a statement on the benefits of the agreement, saying that Nigeria stands to benefit from expanded market access for its exporters of goods and services; it will spur growth and boost job creation, eliminate barriers against Nigeria’s products and provide a Dispute Settlement Mechanism for stopping the hostile and discriminatory treatment directed against Nigerian natural and corporate business persons in other African countries.