By Chijioke Okoronkwo
President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja on Thursday to attend the Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
The 14th session of the Summit Conference of the OIC, scheduled to hold on May 31, 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.
Buhari 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 2, will be accompanied by Governors Mohammed Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa, Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State and Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State.
Others 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.
Also in the delegation are Dr Isa Ali Pantami; and the Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Abdullahi Mukthar.
A preparatory meeting is expected to hold in Jeddah to adopt the draft agenda and work programme for the Summit.
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, will top the agenda.
Buhari becomes the third Nigerian leader to attend the OIC conference in person, after the late Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.