The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday said Nigeria was almost a pariah state as a result of insecurity and corruption before President Muhammadu Buhari succeeded Goodluck Jonathan.
Mohammed spoke at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Buhari.
He was joined at the press conference by the Minister of Environment, Amina Muhammed, and the Minister of State, Environment, Jibril Ibrahim.
Mohammed explained that the meeting reviewed the gains of the President’s recent foreign trips, especially the last four he embarked upon last year, and came to the conclusion that they were important.
The minister said the President had been using the opportunities afforded by the trips to address some of the major challenges facing the country like climate change, insecurity and corruption.
He argued that before now, the level of corruption in the country had discouraged investors from coming to Nigeria.
Mohammed added, “You do not run a country by being isolated and the personal presence of the President in many of these forums is very important because before now, we were almost a pariah state.
“The two things that have been driving investments away from this country are terrorism and corruption.
“One thing that nobody can fault this President on is his determination to fight these two ills.
“Mr. President’s presence in these fora are very crucial even to the economy back home.
“What I mean that Nigeria was a pariah state is that before now, the level of corruption was very high that nobody was ready to risk his investment in Nigeria.
“The cost of doing business was so high that most international businessmen didn’t want to come here. Who is coming to invest in a country where there is insecurity?
“These are the twin problems that Mr. President has addressed in the last nine months.”
According to Mohammed, because the world is a global village, the President cannot sit in his country and say he is not concerned about things happening across the world.
The minister explained that issues that took centre stage in the forums attended by Buhari abroad included climate change, corruption, terrorism and extremism, saying they would help Nigeria.
He stated that because the President had been attending the meetings with relevant ministers, the outcomes had been positive.
The Minister of Environment added that Buhari’s foreign trips had translated into stronger economic ties with other countries.
She said, “The President doesn’t stand alone, he has a Vice-President and a cabinet. The cabinet stays with the Vice-President here as much as possible to try to address the challenges that we are talking about on a daily basis.
“But the investment that we make with the President’s travels is well worth the investment we are getting from those visits.”