By Lawrence Olaooye
President Muhammadu Buhari will today depart for Makkah, Saudi Arabia, to attend the Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
According to a statement made available to newsmen yesterday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, the 14th session of the Summit Conference of the OIC, scheduled to hold tomorrow will be hosted by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and attended by Heads of State and Governments of Member States.
According to the OIC secretariat, the summit to be convened under the theme, “Makkah al-Mukarramah Summit: Hand in Hand toward the Future,” seeks to develop a unified stance on events in the Islamic world.
The President is expected to address the forum and underscore the need for member countries to unite and work together to combat common challenges such as terrorism and violent extremism.
The President will also push forward themes that have been at the forefront of his domestic and international priorities, including reviving the Lake Chad Basin, investing in Nigeria to create jobs and financing for development.
On the margins of the summit, the Nigerian leader will hold bilateral meetings with world leaders to promote increased cooperation and collaboration on issues of mutual concern.
Buhari, who is expected to return to the country on June 2nd, will be accompanied by Governors Mohammed Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State, Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State and Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State.
Also on the delegation are the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mustapha Suleiman; Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar; Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Ali Pantami; and the Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Abdullahi Mukthar.
Ahead of the Summit, was a preparatory meeting in Jeddah meant to adopt the draft agenda and work programme for the Summit.
On the agenda were the question of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict; combating terrorism and violent extremism; the humanitarian situation in the Muslim world; promotion of scientific cooperation, among others.
Buhari becomes the third Nigerian leader to attend the OIC conference in person, after the late Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Going to the archives, Nigeria joined the OIC in 1986 and has held various positions in the Organisation, including Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) Commissioner, Amb. M.L. Sulaiman, elected in 2017
In 2009, Ambassador Opeloyeru Hameed was elected Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs and later re-elected
The OIC funded the project for training and guidelines on Sukuk issuance in 2018
In 2018, the IDB through the Presidential Committee for the North East Initiative provided relief materials to IDPs in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States
Nigeria continues to benefit from scholarships from OIC member countries
In August 2016, the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDBG) formally opened its Nigeria Country Gateway Office in Abuja with a mission to focus its services on health, agriculture, infrastructure, small and medium-scale enterprises and regional integration
Dr Mansur Mukhtar, former Minister of Finance is now serving as the Vice President of the Islamic Development Bank.