In demonstration of his readiness to do closer business with Nigeria, United States President Barrack Obama will be breaking his administration’s tradition when President Muhammadu Buhari arrives in Washington D.C. on a state visit on Monday next week.
The American leader will host President Buhari as his personal guest at the Blair House, right opposite the White House.
When President Muhammadu Buhari arrives in the United States of America on Monday next week, he will be hosted at the Blair House, the official guest house of the American President, NewsDay has learnt.
This is in clear departure from the American government’s attitude to visiting Heads of State, particularly African leaders.
It is also in demonstration of US President Barrack Obama’s admiration of President Buhari and to support the Nigerian leader’s acclaimed frugal lifestyle and disdain for ostentatious lifestyle.
The decision to host President Buhari in the official Guest House of the United States President will not only cut down the cost of the trip but also allow time for informal discussions by both leaders.
Buhari is said to have pegged his entourage at 32, a clear departure from the immediate past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan who was once reported to have embarked on a two-day trip with a team of about 100 persons.
It was also learnt that although the Nigerian protocol unit had planned the trip to be for two days, the US government offered to accommodate the visitors of three days.
During official visits to Washington D.C. while in office, former President Jonathan and his entourage usually stayed at the Westin Grand Hotel. At other times, he booked Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and the Pierre Hotel.
During the coming visit of the Nigerian new leader, according to sources, Presidents Buhari and Obama will exchange “wish lists.”
These will contain the requests of both leaders from each other, as well as firm pledges on how they plan to come to each other’s aid.
It was learnt that top on the US government’s pledges is greater assistance in the fight against terrorism. In return, the US government wants Nigeria to show greater commitment to war on corruption, particularly transparency in public service.
According to Wikipedia, the Blair House is located at 1651–1653 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., opposite the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House, off the corner of Lafayette Park.
The main house was built in 1824. The original brick house was built as a private home for Joseph Lovell, eighth Surgeon General of the United States Army. In 1836, it was acquired by Francis Preston Blair, a newspaper publisher and influential adviser to President Andrew Jackson. It would remain in his family for the following century.
In 1859, Blair built a house for his daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth Blair Lee and Captain Samuel Phillips Lee, at 1653 Pennsylvania Avenue, next door to Blair House at 1651 Pennsylvania Avenue. Captain Lee (later an admiral) was a grandson of Richard Henry Lee and third cousin of Robert E. Lee. The houses have since been combined, and the complex is sometimes referred to as the Blair-Lee House, though Blair House is the official name today.
PHOTOS: Buhari on condolence visit to UAE
President Muhammadu Buhari is currently in Dubai on a condolence visit over the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates.
Zayed Al Nahyan died at the age of 73 on May 13, 2022.
The country’s ministry of presidential affairs had declared a 40-day state mourning with flag flown at half-mast and the suspension of work in the public and private sectors for three days.
Buhari departed Nigeria on Thursday and arrived in Dubai in the early hours of Friday.
He was accompanied by Zubairu Dada, minister of state foreign affairs; Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy; Mohammed Bello, minister of federal capital territory, and Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation.
Below are photos.
Protest in Abuja over council chairmen tenure extension
Some residents of the Federal Capital Territory have taken to the streets to protest the tenure extension of six area councils’ chairmen and councillors.
The chairmen and councillors’ terms in office elapsed on Thursday and the newly-elected officials were supposed to be sworn in today.
But the FCT minister, Muhammad Bello, cited a court judgement and extended the officials’ tenure by one year.
Displeased by the extension, residents in the Gwagwalada Area Council on Friday morning took to the streets.
The residents, who barricaded the roads and made bonfires, are demanding a reversal of the decision.
The incident, it was gathered, obstructed vehicular movements in the area.
Nigerian government moves to end ASUU, poly lecturers strikes, begins arrears payment
The Federal Government has commenced the payment of minimum wage arrears, which it owed lecturers under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as part of efforts to end ongoing strikes by the unions, The PUNCH has learnt.
The National President of ASUP, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, and the Chairman, ASUU FUTMinna, Dr. Gbolahan Bolarin, confirmed this in separate interviews in Abuja on Thursday.
The two unions are currently on strike following the inability of the government to meet their demands including the payment of minimum wage arrears and release of revitalisation funds, among others.
While ASUU commenced its strike on February 14, 2022, ASUP is currently on an initial two-week warning strike.
Confirming the payment on Thursday, Ezeibe, however, said that was just the beginning.
He said, “The government has started responding. They just started paying the salary/minimum wage arrears, the one they have refused to pay.
“However, that is just one of the demands, so we have not reached anywhere. They have not attended to the others, but I can confirm that people have started receiving alerts of the arrears owed.”
Also, Bolarin, said, “Some of my members got alert of their minimum wage arrears; their salaries are still pending.”
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