Monday, July 20, 2015

Boko Haram takes Buhari to Obama

Details of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the United States of America have emerged as the President’s Special Adviser on Media, Femi Adesina said the official visit will “strengthen and intensify bilateral and international cooperation against terrorism in Nigeria and West-Africa.”

ITRealms reports that threat posed by Boko Haram militants is expected to top the agenda. According to the statement, President Buhari will meet with the United States Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, and the Secretary of Defense, Robert Work.

The two presidents, along with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, ITRealms gathered, will also likely discuss proposed political and economic reforms in Nigeria aimed at ending widespread corruption. The four-day trip is Buhari's first to Washington since being elected in March and taking office in May in a landmark peaceful transition of power in Nigeria.

Buhari will meet with West African diplomats, World Bank executives, and members of the U.S. Congress.  He is scheduled to hold a town hall meeting with Nigerians on Tuesday.

U.S. relations with Nigeria, ITRealms reports, soured over failures by the government and military  to locate more than 200 schoolgirls, most of them Christian, who were kidnapped by Boko Haram from the northern town of Chibok in April 2014. The abduction led to international condemnation and a campaign to “Bring Back Our Girls” that reached as far as the White House.

The former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan was reportedly angered by the U.S. refusal to sell his government helicopter gunships and retaliated by halting a U.S. military training program. However, relations between the two countries are expected to improve under Buhari, a 72-year-old former military dictator who has pledged allegiance to democracy and promised to address U.S. concerns.

Buhari’s visit to Washington barely two months after taking office is said to be indication of  the  importance the U.S. places on relations with Nigeria. Obama extended the invitation immediately after Buhari was declared the winner of the March election.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE

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