The oil-rich state of Qatar is to invest $5 billion in the Nigerian economy, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Godfrey Onyeama, has said.
Onyeama, at a farewell dinner on Sunday in honour of Nigeria’s Ambassador-designate to the State of Qatar, who is also the outgoing Director of Protocol (DOP) at the State House, Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed, stated that recent career ambassadorial appointments made by the federal government was based on merit, experience and professionalism.
He said there had been discussions with Qatar on partnership with Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund to invest about $5 billion in the Nigerian economy.
He stated: ‘‘Qatar is a weighty and strategic country and very strategic in that part of the world and we are putting our best feet forward to advance the interest of our country economically and in other areas”.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari had visited the State of Qatar in 2016, while the Emir of Qatar, His Highness Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani, reciprocated with a state visit in 2019.
Onyeama added that only trusted hands with a track record of diligence, experience and professionalism in the foreign service were recently appointed career ambassadors by the federal government.
The minister said the appointment of Ahmed and other career ambassadors were predicated on posting dedicated and keen foreign service practitioners to serve as image-makers of the country.
He said: ‘‘Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed is a dedicated professional with a penchant for rigour and detail. He is very capable and one of the best in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is personable, affable, extremely friendly, dispassionate and objective.
‘‘He is going to head a very important mission, a very important country, reckoned to be one of the richest countries in the world, per capita, and there’s a lot we will be doing with the State of Qatar.”
Also, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Adeola Ipaye, described Ahmed as a ‘‘perfect gentleman, very even-natured and always well turned out.’’
Ipaye said he had no doubt that he would serve the country well in Qatar, adding that ‘‘we are further encouraged that when he completes this assignment, he would return to serve Nigeria in a higher capacity.’’
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, while congratulating the outgoing DOP on his appointment, lauded Ahmed for excellent service to the State House and the nation.
‘‘He served this institution and the nation with the deepest sense of responsibility and it is very important that we establish a tradition where the system appreciates those who have served it well and those who will continue to serve it well,’’ he said.
He urged Ahmed to keep fond memories of his time at the presidential Villa, assuring him of the prayers and goodwill of all the staff.
Responding, Ahmed thanked Buhari for the great honour and privilege of making him his principal representative in Qatar.
He pledged to deplore his energy and skill to the promotion of the cordial relationship between Nigeria and Qatar, particularly in the areas of economic, political, cultural and consular affairs as well as other key areas.
Ahmed, who joined Nigeria’s Foreign Service in 1993, said during his years in public service, he had learnt that ‘‘patriotism, selfless service, diligence, determination and perseverance will always result in the achievement of the desired objective.’’
Deji Elumoye in Abuja