President Muhammadu Buhari’s delegation to Johannesburg, South Africa, for the China-Africa Forum has now swollen to 84 persons, including at least four ministers and 80 aides, CEOs and MDA reps.
This is an unusually large travel party for the Nigeria leader, who went to the 70th United Nations General Assembly two months ago with only about 30 persons.
The Forum is scheduled for December 4-5.
Buhari departed Abuja today at 3:00p.m Nigerian time, and will arrive in Johannesburg at 10:30p.m local time. The President of China, Si Jin Ping, has already arrived in South Africa for the event.
SaharaReporters learnt that about 28 persons, including aides, bodyguards, cooks, doctors and protocol officers arrived in Johannesburg for the visit on December 1. Buhari had planned to fly from Paris to Johannesburg but outrage by Nigerians over his incessant foreign travels compelled him to revise that plan and travel home for 48 hours so as to douse public anger.
A source told SaharaReporters that ministries and departments in Buhari's government are crowding into South Africa with the President on the pretext that the trip is aimed at attracting Chinese investment. Buhari has indicated that he will be discussing rail construction, for which the Goodluck Jonathan had already taken several large loans, with the Chinese leader.
Some critics say Buhari’s foreign trips are a junket that drains Nigeria's meagre resources. According to an investigation by SaharaReporters, an average two-day foreign trip by the President costs Nigeria at least a million dollars. With the latest trip, President Buhari has already done 14 foreign trips in 6 months since he took power in May 2015.