'I Thought It Was 419' - Thomas Etuh speaks on first meeting with Buhari

The President of Fertiliser Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN), Mr Thomas Etuh has narrated how he rebuffed an invitation by President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss the advancement of fertiliser value chain in Nigeria.

He narrated the funny conversation that ensued between him and the Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari who had called him to come for a meeting.

Etuh told NAN that when the call came from Kyari inviting him, he thought it was fraudsters, and he vehemently told him off.

He explained that he rebuffed the call many times and advised the caller to go and get a job, not knowing that the call was genuine and was going to change the lot of farmers and fertiliser producers as well as suppliers.

“One weekend, I got a call from the chief of staff to the president, Alhaji Abba Kyari that they wanted to see me. I thought it was a joke. So, I said I wasn’t interested in looking for any appointment and I dropped the phone.

“A couple of minutes later, he called back and asked if I was Thomas Etuh, I said “Yes, I am”.

“We’ll like to see you”, he said. I said “Please! I have told you I am not looking for any appointment and I can hear your voice sounding like a very elderly person. So I think you should go and get a job to do and stop this 419”, then, I banged the phone.

“So while sitting with friends, we put the number on truecaller, and behold his name came up but I never bothered.

“About an hour or two later, he put a call through again; I picked it and naturally, I apologized. He kept laughing on the phone and saying that he understands and if I can come because they want to have a meeting with me.

“Eventually, I made the appointment for the meeting and the presidency was concerned about the price of fertiliser going up and what we can do to reduce the price.

“And that discussion translated into the President setting up this committee of Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI), which FEPSAN which I lead as a body was tasked to come back with a proposal and all hands were on deck."