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FG reacts to leaked memo about Tinubu’s planned visit to Qatar



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The presidency says the leaked diplomatic paper about an investment forum in Qatar is not a snub on President Bola Tinubu.

Bayo Onanuga, special adviser to the president on information and strategy, said in a statement on Saturday that the “note verbale” in circulation is about a business and investment forum billed to be held during the president’s state visit to Qatar

Onanuga was reacting to a leaked memo showing that the Arab nation asked that the proposed investment forum be shelved.

Tinubu is scheduled to visit Qatar on March 2 and 3 on a state visit.

In the memo dated February 22 and addressed to the ministry of foreign affairs, the embassy of Qatar in Abuja said there is no agreement between the Middle East country and Nigeria on investment promotion and protection.

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The embassy said Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the country’s minister of commerce and industry, would be “carrying out official missions outside the country during the upcoming visit period”.

However, the presidential aide said Tinubu would be visiting Qatar “on the invitation” of Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the country’s emir.

Onanuga said the memo addresses “a private sector-led business and investment forum” by the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and Qatar’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

He said the organisers were only trying “to take advantage of President Tinubu’s visit to Doha to mobilise the business community from our two countries to explore opportunities in key economic sectors”.

“President Tinubu is expected to proceed to Qatar on the State Visit as scheduled, and during the visit, the Nigerian leader will engage in high-level bilateral discussions with the Qatari leader on many important matters, covering the full range of diplomatic and economic issues,” the statement reads.

“It is not correct for anyone to insinuate that the Qatari authorities have snubbed the Nigerian leader over a business and investment forum which is tangential to the all-important State Visit and which President Tinubu is slated to attend as a guest.”

In September 2022, Qatar rejected the planned visit of former President Muhammadu Buhari over the country’s preparation for the 2022 World Cup.

The government of Qatar had asked the federal government to propose a new date for the visit, preferably “during the first quarter of the year 2023”.