Tinubu returns to Nigeria after two-week private visit to France


President Bola Tinubu has arrived in Nigeria after a two-week private visit to Paris, France.

NAF 001 pulled up at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Int’l Airport at about 09:00 pm on Tuesday, where he was received by top government officials, including his Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume; National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike.

Also on the receiving line were the Kaduna State Governor, Uba Sani; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri; and the Director-General of the Department of State Service, Yusuf Bichi, among others.

Although the presidency remained silent on the reason for the visit, the Nigerian leader was billed to return “in the first week of February 2024,” a statement announcing his departure on January 24 noted.

The trip was Tinubu’s third to France and his 14th foreign visit since he assumed office eight months ago.

On June 20, 2023, three weeks after assuming office, Tinubu opened his foreign schedule in the city he last visited as President-elect, Paris, the French capital.

During his four-day stay, the Nigerian leader participated in the Paris Summit for the New Global Financial Pact to “review and sign a New Global Financial Pact that places vulnerable countries on the priority list for support and investment, following the devastating impact of climate change, energy crisis, and after effect of the COVID-19 pandemic,” a statement signed by then-Special Adviser, Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, Dele Alake, read.

In September 2023, the President spent nine days with world leaders in New York, USA, at the 78th United Nations General Assembly, which began on September 19, his first UNGA as President.

Afterward, he proceeded to Paris, France, where he remained for five days, arriving in Abuja on September 29 ahead of Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Day anniversary on October 1.

So far, he has visited Paris, France (thrice); London, the United Kingdom; Bissau, Guinea-Bissau (twice); Nairobi, Kenya; Porto Novo, Benin Republic; New Delhi, India; Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates; New York, the United States of America, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Berlin, Germany.

He returns amid protests in some states over the rising food and living costs.

On Monday through Tuesday, angry youths and women took to the streets of Minna, the Niger State capital, and Kano to protest what they described as the rising cost of living in the country. Similar protests also erupted in Ondo State.

In Niger, a group of women reportedly blocked the ever-busy Minna-Bida Road at the famous Kpakungu Roundabout and called on the Tinubu administration to address the challenge of ‘hunger in the land.’ The mob deflected attempts to quell the protest by security operatives who fired tear gas canisters into the crowd and arrested others.

However, he had directed a special committee on emergency food intervention to draw up immediate plans to alleviate the suffering and forestall a further breakdown in security.

Tinubu also returns amid rising cases of kidnapping-for-ransom, a weakening local currency even as the promised student loan scheme still lags behind the January deadline he had declared last October.