Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari currently in Lisbon, Portugal for a state visit, has clocked his 12th international trip in 2022, in half the time it took him to make the same number of foreign trips last year.
As at this time last year, the President had made only two international trips, but his travel circuit took a drastic turn in the last quarter of 2021 where he recorded eight overseas jaunts.
According to Nigeria’s 2022 budget, Buhari will spend N1. 5 billion on his foreign travels this year, N200 million less than the N1.7 billion budgeted for his international journeys in 2021.
However, the President has already reached the number of total foreign trips made in the whole of 2021 and is likely to make more international travels before the year ends.
It would also be recalled that Buhari had announced several cost-cutting measures as a way of reducing the cost of governance and shoring up the country’s dwindling revenue.
Yet, the President has embarked on 20 international trips between the last quarter of 2021 and the first half of 2022 cumulatively.
The countries include: Addis Ababa, Belgium, Gambia, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, France, Kenya, Portugal, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and The United Kingdom (UK).
The President made more than one trip to countries like Addis Ababa, UAE and the UK within this period and some Nigerians have dubbed him ‘minister of foreign affairs’ as a result of his frequent international travels.
Earlier this month, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, accused Buhari of squandering taxpayers’ resources on meaningless, insatiable international trips.
“The meaningless foreign trips of President Muhammadu Buhari which have no economic benefits are disturbing. These trips must stop as they are not exigent and are aimed at squandering taxpayers’ resources and for the President to find a phantom alibi for his monumental incompetence and rudderless political leadership style.
“Buhari and his deputy have spent over N10 billion on foreign trips in the last seven years while the Academic Staff Union of Universities has perpetually been on strike, demanding their rightful entitlement.
“It is more reprehensible that the President can be junketing many countries of the world while Nigeria faces educational, economic, energy, and severe security crises of all times,” HURIWA’s National Coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko said.