President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday returned to Nigeria from London, United Kingdom, after undergoing medical checkup.
Buhari left Nigeria for the United Kingdom on July 26 to participate in the Global Education Summit on Financing Global Partnership for Education (GPE) 2021-2025, after which he stayed behind to undergo medical checks.
The Global Education Summit, co-hosted by British prime minister, Mr Boris Johnson and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, was said to have generated about $4bn out of the targeted $5bn for the transformation of the education sector in low-income countries, including Nigeria.
President Buhari appeared on a panel of discussants with a live audience alongside his counterparts from other African countries including President Kenyatta, President Nana Akufo-Addo (Ghana), President Faure Eyadema (Togo) and President Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi).
The summit, according to a statement from Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, focused on topical issues including Education’s Reset – Learning from COVID; Transforming the Child’s Learning Journey; Gender Equality In and Through Education; Ripple Effect – Education’s Impact on Sustainability and Financing for Impact – Volume, Equity, Efficiency.
At the summit, President Buhari pledged to increase the budget for the education sector in Nigeria by as much as 50 per cent over the next two years.
“We commit to progressively increase our annual domestic education expenditure by 50 per cent over the next two years and up to 100% by 2025 beyond the 20 per cent global benchmark,” Buhari said.
President Buhari held bilateral meetings with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Baroness Patricia Scotland, at the sidelines of the Global Education Summit.
During the bilateral talks, President Buhari and Boris Johnson appraised the war against different forms of terrorism in Nigeria and agreed that the judicial process is allowed to run its course.
Adesina said President Buhari also briefed the Prime Minister on Nigeria’s power needs and efforts being made, as well as initiatives geared at achieving food security.
Buhari also reviewed the security situation in the different regions of the country, while Johnson pledged Britain’s preparedness to lend a helping hand.
“We are available to help,” Adesina quoted the British PM as saying.
”The two leaders equally discussed how to increase trade between the two countries, develop solar and wind power, the leadership of the Commonwealth going forward and other matters of mutual interest,” Adesina added.
During the bilateral meeting with the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Baroness Patricia Scotland, President Buhari said Nigeria would be glad to receive support from the Commonwealth in diverse areas of needs and challenges.
Buhari said Nigeria was doing a lot to address food security through heavy investment in agriculture and tackle security issues confronting the country in different regions.
He, therefore, welcomed the offer of assistance by the Commonwealth scribe.
Baroness Scotland said the Commonwealth had developed programmes on agribusiness, adding value to agriculture products for young people to get involved, climate change, criminal justice reforms, police reforms, and security.
She, therefore, invited Nigeria to benefit from technical assistance that could be provided.
She added that since President Buhari was the Champion for Anti-Corruption in Africa, the Commonwealth had developed anti-corruption benchmark tools, and would like to work with Nigeria in both public and private sectors.
Other areas the Commonwealth could assist, according to Baroness Scotland, include countering violent extremism, trade, and modalities to implement the African Continental Free Trade Agreement
Before departing London, President Buhari was reported to have on Thursday visited former Lagos State Governor and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, who is believed to be on a medical trip to London.
At the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja to welcome the president include the President’s Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammed Bello, security chiefs as well as some presidential aides.