Meeting with Trump shows approval for Buhari – Officials

President Muhammadu Buhari's visit to President Donald Trump in the Oval Office and Press Conference in the Rose Garden
President Muhammadu Buhari's visit to President Donald Trump in the Oval Office and Press Conference in the Rose Garden

The meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, showed approval for the Buhari-led administration, Nigeria’s top officials at the meeting said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Buhari became the first sub-Saharan African leader to visit Mr Trump at the White House for a bilateral talk that touched on security, economy, trade, investment and governance.

Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun said the meeting was “very fruitful, insightful and successful’’, adding that it was a deep-rooted meeting.

“He (Trump) showed what I would call ‘approval’ for almost all that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing.

“They followed what was happening, may be, in the last 20 years or so.

“They recognised the fact that things are tough and they appreciate the efforts of Mr President, but that there’s always room for improvement,’’ Amosun said.

The governor said the Trump administration showed commitment and the general impression that it would support what the Nigerian government was doing.

“We’re gaining a lot. In the area of security, they’ve actually said they’re not only selling those Tucano helicopters to us, they’re going to follow it up with assistance, training and so on.

“In fact, as we speak, they are already in Nigeria assisting and they promised to do more.’’

Also, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau said Mr Buhari’s meeting with Mr Trump “is not only fantastic but was very successful for the progress of our country.”

Mr Lalong said that looking at the totality of why the meeting took place, Nigeria had achieved more than what she bargained for.

“Generally, in all the areas, they promised to help us, particularly in fighting terrorism in Nigeria and other security challenges that we have.

“They are assisting us in the area of the economy and of course in the area of fighting corruption, they are going to assist us.

“The meeting is not only fantastic but very successful for the progress of Nigeria,’’ Mr Lalong said.

The Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S., Sylvanus Nsofor, could not hide his joy for the turnout of the event at the meeting.

“We have succeeded,’’ he said, adding that the meeting went smoothly with Mr Trump and other bilateral engagements that Mr Buhari and the Nigerian delegation attended.

“That the President of Nigeria came to see the President of America in my own time as the Ambassador and that everything went smoothly and successfully gives me joy,’’ Mr Nsofor told NAN.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the gains of the visit covered security, trade and governance issues.

“On trade, the objective was to increase the level of trade between Nigeria and the United States. The two presidents agreed that concerted efforts will be made to ensure this.

“On security, the United States has been helping Nigeria, supplying military equipment in the fight against terrorism and there is the agreement to continue the cooperation between the two countries in this context,’’ Mr Onyeama told NAN.

In the area of governance, he said the return of large sums of money syphoned out and lodged in banks around the world, back to Nigeria was discussed.

The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami, pointed out three key remarks made by Trump that conveyed approval to Buhari-led administration.

“Three key remarks from President Trump has indeed consolidated on the general overview of what transpired between the two presidents.

“President Trump acknowledged that President Buhari is a real leader.

“Trump acknowledged the fact that he has much respects for him (Buhari) and further consolidated the position by a clear remark that he (Buhari) has indeed succeeded in cutting down corruption.’’

Mr Malami said the U.S. government was committed to clearing the bureaucratic bottlenecks on repatriation of over $500 million back to Nigeria.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, said both Messrs Buhari and Trump had had a relationship for a while since the U.S. President spoke after his inauguration to his Nigerian counterpart.

According to Mr Enelamah, Mr Trump acknowledged the importance of Nigeria and her economy in Africa.

“There is an acknowledgement that the U.S. is clearly the number one economy in the world and there is a lot of room for cooperation; both presidents view it as a priority.

“Trump also invited President Buhari to come to the White House as the first president from sub-Saharan Africa and everything that happened today reinforced that,’’ the minister said.



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