President Muhammadu Buhari returned to Abuja on Monday after attending the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union in Niamey, Niger Republic.
The presidential aircraft, conveying the president and some members of his entourage landed at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 1:25 p.m.
While in Niamey, Buhari signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, making Nigeria the 53rd state in the continent to append its signature to the document.
The signing of the agreement was the first event at the opening of the summit on the launching of the operational phase of the AfCFTA.
The president had delayed signing the agreement, which entered into force on May 30, 2019.
The delay was to give room for extensive consultations with stakeholders, culminating in the submission of the report by the presidential committee, to assess the impact and readiness of Nigeria to join the free trade area.
The AfCFTA is expected to be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation, with a potential market of 1.2 billion people.
Buhari at the summit met with Dr Mansur Muhtar, Vice- President of the Islamic Development Bank and solicited the support of the bank to address Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit.
According to the president, with the growing population and infrastructure deficit, no amount of money is too much to commit to the revamping of Nigeria’s development challenges.
‘‘We need all the support we can get on infrastructure because the oil will not last forever,’’ said Buhari.
The Nigerian leader also met with the Head of Libya’s Government of National Accord, Fayez Al-Sarraj, and pledged Nigeria’s continued support for Libya’s quest to regain political and security stability.