NEWS

Spain trip: Buhari departs Madrid after 3-day visit

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President Muhammadu Buhari departed Madrid, Spain, on a return journey to Abuja on Friday at the end of a three-day state visit.

The president’s aircraft took off from the Torrejon Airbase, Madrid, at about 8.20 a.m. local time for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

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Buhari is expected to be at the weekly Friday Juma’at prayer at the Aso Villa in the afternoon.

He met with President Pedro Sanchez as well as the Spanish monarch, His Majesty King Felipe VI, on Wednesday.

At the meeting with President Sanchez, Nigeria and Spain signed nine Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding covering a Treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and the transfer of sentenced persons and extradition.

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Others were on economic and commercial cooperation, tourism, sports, health, the fight against COVID-19 and science and innovation.

On Thursday, President Buhari attended a Political and Business Leaders Forum, jointly organised by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, the Ministry of Trade, and the Confederation of Employers.

At the meeting, the Nigerian leader alerted European countries to look toward Africa for a solution to the resources supply challenges currently facing the global economy.

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He also challenged Spanish investors to take advantage of Nigeria’s tax-free environment and limitless expatriate quota at the nation’s Free Trade Zones to boost Nigerian-Spanish trade and economic opportunities.

According to him, for quite a number of decades, Spain has been one of Nigeria’s most important trade partners.

He said Spain had been a major importer of Nigeria’s crude oil, noting that Nigeria’s exports to Spain stood at $4.8 billion in 2020 whilst Spain’s exports to Nigeria increased from $97.2 million in 1995 to $517 million in 2020.

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Also, on Thursday, President Buhari hosted representatives of the Nigerian community in Spain, including professional footballers and some Spanish investors with interests in Nigeria.

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