Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, has rejected a proposed visit to the country by President Muhammadu Buhari this month, asking Mr Buhari to apply in 2023.
According to report, Buhari’s proposed visit dates were rejected by the Qatari government last month.
“The Embassy of the State of Qatar in Abuja presents its compliments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Regions Department) and with reference to the latter’s Note M 403/2022 dated 12/08/2022 informing that H.E Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has accepted to visit Qatar on 11-12 September 2022 on invitation of H.H Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar,” the note is quoted as saying. “Has the honour to communicate that the proposed dates for the visit are not suitable and kindly request the Nigerian side to propose other dates for the visit during the first quarter of the year 2023.”
The report cited an unnamed presidential source who alleged that the State Chief of Protocol (SCOP), Ambassador Lawal Abdullahi Kazaure and his team “didn’t follow the usual diplomatic channel to accept and propose alternative dates.”
“After over 3 months without a word, the State House wrote directly to the Qatar Embassy in Abuja to inform them that President Buhari wants to visit from 11-12 September 2022. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was not involved. Our Embassy in Doha, capital of Qatar was not also consulted,” the report said.
Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu in a statement on Tuesday, said Buhari’s request to visit Qatar was put on hold due to the FIFA World Cup holding in the country from November 20 to December 18.
In the statement seeking to clarify the rejection of Buhari’s proposed visit, the Presidency said the Qatari government only raised concerns that the proposed visit dates were “too close to the upcoming World Cup”.
The statement added that the Asian country, however, asked the Nigerian leader to request another date in the first quarter of 2023.
Part of the Presidency statement said:
“The visit to Qatar was not at the instance of Nigeria but on the invitation of His Majesty, the Emir who is the monarch.
“The Embassy of the State of Qatar on August 19th, 2022, wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, saying, ‘We have the honour to communicate that the proposed dates for the visit are not suitable and kindly request the Nigerian side to propose other dates for the visit during the first quarter of the year 2023.
“The Qataris explained that the dates chosen by Nigeria were too close to the World Cup tournament which is being hosted by them”.