I won’t pay N5,000 to unemployed Nigerians, I have different priority – Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he has a different priority other than to pay N5,000 to the unemployed Nigerians as had been promised.

He made the remark in Saudi Arabia as he continued his visit to the Middle East over the weekend.

He said he would rather channel resources into the building of infrastructure, education, agriculture and mining to create employment opportunities for able bodied young men.

He said: “This largesse N5,000 for the unemployed, I have got a slightly different priority. I would rather do the infrastructure, the school and correct them and empower agriculture, mining so that every able bodied person can go and get work instead of giving 5,000, N5,000 to those who don’t work.”

The promised to pay N5,000 monthly stipend to the most vulnerable in the society was a major plank of the presidential campaign of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) last year.

The president has also called for better conditions for Nigerians undertaking the pilgrimage to the holy land of Saudi Arabia and has consequently directed directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) to sit down with the Saudis to negotiate improved terms and conditions for our pilgrims performing the Umrah and the annual Hajj.

His remark followed the completion of talks with rulers of the Saudi Arabia and the acceptance by the Saudi government to freely and openly discuss outstanding issues with Nigeria.

President Buhari, among other things, requested the Saudis to conclude all issues with the Nigerian Hajj Commission, such as the undetermined outcome of their investigation into the stampede at Muna last year, where our officials believe that 274 Nigerian lives were lost.

There is also the case of compensation for six Nigerians killed in the crane incident in the precincts of the Kaaba and 35 others from the stampede whose DNA profile is feared to be missing.

Buhari equally charged the Ministry and the NAHCON to seek a reduction of fees associated with the Umrah Visa.

Among the 17 issues tendered at the initial meeting between the officials of both countries, Nigeria appreciated the increase offered for Umrah pilgrimage but asked that the 76,000 seats maintained for the  Hajj be similarly increased.

According to a statement issued by the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu from Saudi Arabia on Saturday, the meeting was led by Nigeria’s Minister of State, Mrs Fatima Abba Ibrahim and the the Chairman of NAHCON, Abdullahi Muhammed on the Nigerian side while the Saudi side led by their minister of Hajj Affairs, Dr Bandar bin Muhammad al-Hajjar. It is expected to follow up I’d the issues in the coming weeks.



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