According to Punch Metro, President Muhammadu Buhari will begin a two-legged trip out of Abuja on Friday, first to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, for a summit and another five-day visit to his country home, Daura, in Katsina State.
He will be away till Wednesday next week.
The Presidency explained on Thursday that Buhari would be in Malabo to attend the 5th Gas Exporting Countries Forum Summit.
Other gas producing countries expected at the summit include Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Bolivia, Iran, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Kazakhstan and Norway.
The countries “account for 70 per cent and 80 per cent of global gas reserves and production respectively”, Presidential spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu, said in a statement.
It noted, “The idea of the GECF was first mooted in 2001 when the First Ministerial Meeting held in Tehran, Iran, while the First GECF otherwise called Gas Summit, took place in Doha, Qatar in 2011 with Nigeria represented at the highest level.
“Indeed, President Buhari had attended the Third Gas Summit in Tehran in November 2015. This Fifth Gas Summit in Malabo is the first time the biennial meeting will be hosted in Africa.”
An invitation to Buhari to attend the summit was delivered to him on November 19 by the Special Envoy of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Mr Gabriel Mbega Obiang Lima, in Abuja.
Buhari had told the envoy during the visit that “Nigeria is more of a gas producing rather than oil producing country. That fact had long been established. If we had followed our plans laid out in the 1970s for the gas sector, we should have had 12 trains by early 1980s, instead of being on just six trains.”
The Presidency added, “Nigeria, being home to the largest proven natural gas reserves in Africa, over 202 trillion cubic feet, and the ninth-largest in the world, the Malabo Summit provides a veritable platform for President Buhari to reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to the broad objectives of the GECF, which among others, seek to ‘support the sovereign rights of member countries over their natural gas resources and their ability to independently plan and manage the sustainable, efficient and environmentally-conscious development, use and conservation of natural gas resources for the benefit of their people.’
“The Nigerian delegation will also use the opportunity to discuss current trends in the global gas market, potential policies for the energy sector and opportunities for collaboration.
“At the end of the 5th Gas Summit, the Malabo Declaration is expected to be adopted.”
Those to be on the President’s entourage are the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite; and the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kolo Kyari.
“After the Summit, President Buhari will head for Daura, Katsina State, on a five-day official visit”, it said.