Buhari attends Paris Peace Forum, pledges to return Nigeria’s cotton industry back to glory

Buhari today departed Abuja for Paris, France, to attend the Paris Peace Forum.

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday departed Abuja for Paris, France, to participate in the first edition of the Paris Peace Forum, holding tomorrow.

Organised by the French Government and a number of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), the forum is based on the “simple idea that international cooperation is key to tackling global challenges and ensuring durable peace.”

Buhari joins the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and other world leaders in discussing contributions towards global peace, while underscoring the imperative of collective action.

While in Paris, the President would also join other world leaders to commemorate the centenary anniversary of the Armistice signed on November 11, 1918 between the Allied Forces and Germany in the forest of Compiegne in France to end the World War 1.

During his visit to Paris, Buhari would attend a luncheon hosted by President Emmanuel Macron of France in honour of visiting heads of delegations.

Before returning to Abuja, the President and his delegation would have an interactive session with the Nigerian community in France.

Governors Aminu Masari (Katsina); Willie Obiano (Anambra); Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd); and Director General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Abubakar are part of the President’s entourage.

Before leaving for Paris, the President, while receiving the Chief Executive of Vlisco Group, David Suddens, at the Presidential Villa, pledged the commitment of his administration to revive the “good old days” when the cotton and textile industry employed hundreds of thousands of Nigerians.

Buhari welcomed the company’s proposed $200million investment in Nigeria, which he said would in turn create 700,000 jobs.

He said: ”I am very much aware of your company’s effort, especially your investments in the textile industry, and it is one area that we are trying to develop, because it will create employment and boost agriculture.

”To get cotton to grow again in the country is like going back to the good old days when the textile industry used to employ hundreds of thousands of people.

‘I am very excited about the prospects of reviving the industry, because it will keep farmers busy, create employment, which brings more security, help the economy, transfer technology and of course, we have a large market to absorb the products.”

The President reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to forging a stronger economic partnership with the Netherlands, assuring the Dutch investors that the Nigerian authorities would continue to do the utmost to keep smugglers at bay at borders.

In his remarks, Suddens told the President that the 172-year-old company plans to use cotton grown in Nigeria for production.

”I want a new strategy that brings Vlisco manufacturing to Nigeria. I want to change the supply chain from Asia to Nigeria.”

Also speaking, the Dutch Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Robert Petri, told the President that the company’s visit was a follow-up to his successful visit to the Netherlands in July, during which he met with chief executive officers of Dutch companies.

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