Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has described the action of African leaders absent at the signing of the African Union Continental Free Trade Area (AUCFTA), as criminal.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who cancelled his trip to Rwanda, was absent at the signing of the agreement.
Buhari giving reasons for his cancelled trip to Kigali for the signing of the AUCFTA agreement framework said enough consultation was not made before the Federal Executive Council, FEC, approved the signing of the framework agreement for establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area.
According to him, the agreement had the capacity to hinder local entrepreneurship and encourage the dumping of finished goods in Nigeria.
Obasanjo speaking in a video posted by NBS Rwanda at African trade agreement, criticised African presidents who refused to sign the trade agreement.
He described their reason not to assent to the trade agreement as ‘mere flimsy excuse and criminal.’
He said: “ “I’m surprised that any African leader at this point in time will be talking about either not understanding the Continental free trade area or not to support what we’re going to sign. I see that as criminal.
“The signing and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will enable a shift from dependence on assistance to increased trade.
“The establishment of the Free Trade Area will result in the establishment of a market of over one billion two hundred million people, with a combined gross product of over three trillion dollars.”
“That is where our salvation lies, trading amongst ourselves and consequently developing our economies. The agreement will inspire a change a perception of the continent by the rest of the world,” he said.
Meanwhile a committee comprising ministers of Foreign Affairs, Labour, Budget, Science and Technology and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been set up to look at the agreement and its security implications for Nigeria.