Lai Mohammed says ministers did not deliberately miss the IMF meeting with investors in Washington.
The Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had accused ministers of deliberately staying away from the forum.
“We had a meeting today with investors, we were supposed to start by 9am we started at 10. When I came in, they took me to the ambassador’s office to sit down, when investors were waiting down there,” Sanusi said.
“We had a list of people who were to be here, vice president, ministers, some of them are in town, but they haven’t come up.
“You invite top investors, your ministers are in Washington and they do not come to talk to the investors about Nigeria. That is not how you attract investors. If you have this forum in the Rwandan embassy, I assure you President Kagame himself would be there telling people to come to Rwanda,” he added.
The ministers who were supposed to handle sessions at the meeting included; Audu Ogbeh, Ogbonnaya Onu, Lai Mohammed, Babatunde Fashola, Ibe Kachikwu, Kemi Adeosun, and Kayode Fayemi.
Also, Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Executive secretary of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Yewande Sadiku and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo were also absent.
But, in a statement issued in London on Monday, April 23, 2018, the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, said most of the ministers who were slated to attend the event were not invited and were not in Washington, DC, at the time.
He described the insinuation that some ministers “collected estacodes without attending the forum” as baseless.
He said the Ministers of Agriculture; Power Works and Housing and Budget and National Planning did not get any invitation from the organizers, even though they were listed among those who were expected to attend.
Mohammed said the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, who was invited, was with the President at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London at the time of the summit, while the Minister of Finance, who was in Washington, DC, at the time, was there purposely to attend the 2018 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
He said though he was invited to the forum, he wrote back to inform the organizers that he would not be able to make the trip due to conflicting schedules.