Investments in sectors like petroleum, power, aviation, agriculture, railways, and many others, featured prominently as President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, hosted the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al-thani, at State House, Abuja.
Also on the front burner, according to Mr Buhari’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, was the recharge of Lake Chad with water from the Congo Basin, so as to grant succour to the more than 30 million people adversely affected by the shrinkage of the lake over the years.
“We invite you to invest in our refineries, pipelines, power sector, aviation, agriculture, education, and many others, so that you can have your management here to oversee the investment. We need your expertise,” Mr Buhari said.
On the receding Lake Chad, he said of the over 30 million people affected, more than half were in Nigeria, and it has contributed greatly to illegal migration, as innumerable youth dare the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, in order to find safer shores in Europe. A large number die in the process.
“We need help with the recharge of Lake Chad, as it is not a project that the concerned countries can handle alone,” Mr Buhari said, adding: “Recharging the lake will bring back fishing, farming, animal husbandry, and the youths won’t be attracted by insurgency or illegal migration. We want Qatar to be involved because of the humanitarian nature of the endeavour.”
Mr Hamad Al-thani said he was honoured and happy to be in Nigeria for the first time, stressing that it was a reciprocal visit to the one paid to Qatar in 2016 by Mr Buhari.
“The relationship between our countries is very good. We just have to build on it,” the emir said. “We share a lot of similarities in different areas. We need to enhance bilateral trade and economic cooperation. We are willing to do a lot more with Nigeria, and will continue to work on investment opportunities of mutual benefit,” he said.