During a joint press conference yesterday (April 30) with Donald Trump as part of a working visit to the United States, the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, seemed to have a mission: to stay on the positive side of Trump no matter what.
President Buhari remarkably missed the opportunity to respond to reports of Trump’s comment about “shitty countries,” saying he was not sure Trump commented as alleged. “The best thing for me is to keep quiet,” Buhari said. In response, however, Trump did not deny commenting and, in fact, seemed to double by saying that some countries, supposedly in Africa, are in “very poor condition and in very difficult places to live”. Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman tweeted on Monday: “He said so.” On the other hand, Trump’s adulation included describing Nigeria as the “most beautiful country”.
In fact, the two leaders prone to the blunder spoke openly during much of the media briefing and seemed to be careful to keep the message without giving up unwanted headlines. Just two weeks ago, during a trip to the United Kingdom, Buhari suggested that millions of unemployed Nigerians were lazy at a business summit.
Trump was also optimistic about “opening Nigeria’s trade,” which allows US agricultural products to reach Nigeria, a position that is at odds with Buhari’s well-known preference for protecting Nigeria’s agricultural industry and stopping agricultural imports.
And despite observing the negative effects of climate change in Nigeria in an op-ed recently published for Newsweek, Buhari also did not mention the issue during the report. In his op-ed piece, Buhari noted the clashes between nomadic pastoralists and farmers, as well as the reduction of Lake Chad in the northeast as the main consequences of climate change. Trump has publicly criticised climate change policies and, last year, brought out the US. UU Of the agreement on the Paris climate to reduce the levels of global emissions. Neither of the two presidents mentioned discussing the issue during the bilateral talks.
But speaking to the press at the White House, President Trump commented on the recent killings of Christians in the middle belt and the northern areas of Nigeria. “We have had severe problems with the Christians that are being killed in Nigeria, we are going to be working on that problem very, very difficult because we can not allow that to happen,” Trump said.
Trump: “We have had serious problems with Christians who have been killed, killed in Nigeria, we are going to work on that problem … because we can not allow that to happen.”
While the Trump administration has done little to give any indication that Africa is vital to its agenda, the only issue on which Trump and Buhari will agree will be on security. The Trump administration’s only actions in Africa have typically been related to security issues. Buhari’s agenda has had to put safety at the forefront as the country faces crucial several security challenges, including the attacks of the shepherds and the Islamist terrorists of Boko Haram.
Buhari’s talks with the Trump administration are crucial to gain support, as Nigeria continues to fight a lethal insurgency against Boko Haram in the northeast. In addition to accessing the military equipment that the army lacked utterly, Buhari has also called for humanitarian aid for the internally displaced, as well as assistance for the reconstruction of strips of devastated towns in the northeast.
In fact, the United States has already approved the sale of military items worth half a billion dollars, including warplanes, to Nigeria. That is a change in the direction of the Obama administration, which refused to sell arms to Nigeria citing alleged human rights abuses by the Nigerian army, which include arbitrary detention and the killing of civilians.