WTO: Buhari calls up European Council boss for Okonjo-Iweala

Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja


President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday reached out to the European Council as part of the diplomatic effort to get Nigeria’s  Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, confirmed as the next Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Okonjo-Iweala was  a step from emerging as  the WTO DG until the United States mounted an opposition to her bid on Wednesday.


Washington said it could not support the consensus decision that had gone in  favour of  the Nigerian.

However, Buhari yesterday spoke with  the President of the European Council, Mr. Charles Michel, during a video conference to make a fresh case for the former minister of finance.

The virtual meeting also stretched to debt relief for African countries and others, according to Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.

He said the European Council reiterated Europe’s support for Okonjo-Iweala .

He said: “The President is leading Nigeria’s charge for Okonjo-Iweala, the country’s former Minister of Finance, to emerge as the first black and female WTO DG.

“President Buhari thanked the European Council for its support for Nigeria’s candidate.

“Also discussed during the conference were issues bordering on debt relief for Africa, EU-African relations and recharge of the Lake Chad, which has currently shrunk to less than one-third of its usual size, and throwing about 130 million people who depend on the lake into dire straits.

“Recharge of the Lake Chad is an issue the Nigerian President had vigorously canvassed at diverse global fora in recent time.

“President Buhari expressed appreciation to Mr Michel for expected positive developments on the issues.”

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