16 February 2017

Nigeria: What I Discussed With President Buhari - Donald Trump

Photo: allafrica.com
Nigerian president speaks with Trump.

American President, Donald Trump, has provided details of his telephone conversation with his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr. Trump had on Monday spoken to Mr. Buhari, who is vacationing in London. It was the first time both leaders would communicate directly since Mr. Trump assumed office as his country's 45th president on January 20.

After the conversation, the Nigerian presidency immediately released details of the call but the American version of the exchanges was not immediately available on the White House website where readouts of U.S. President's engagements are usually posted.

That fuelled speculations that the conversation did not happen, with some commentators accusing the Nigerian presidency of lying.

But responding to PREMIUM TIMES inquiry, the U.S. Department of State has now provided details of the discussions between the two leaders.

Tiffany Jackson-Zunker, Deputy Director, Africa Regional Media Hub at the State Department, sent this newspaper an email containing a readout of the telephone call.

The readout read, "President, Donald J. Trump spoke this week with President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria to discuss the strong cooperation between the United States and Nigeria, including on shared security, economic, and governance priorities.

"President Trump underscored the importance the United States places on its relationship with Nigeria, and he expressed interest in working with President Buhari to expand the strong partnership.

"The leaders agreed to continue close coordination and cooperation in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and worldwide.

"President Trump expressed support for the sale of aircraft from the United States to support Nigeria's fight against Boko Haram.

"President Trump thanked President Buhari for the leadership he has exercised in the region and emphasized the importance of a strong, secure, and prosperous Nigeria that continues to lead in the region and in international forums."

Ms. Jackson-Zunker also said a text of the readout had been posted to the White House website.

Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity had in a series of tweets on Monday gave the Nigerian version of the discussions by the two leaders.

Mr. Adesina said the conversation was cordial and that Mr. Buhari congratulated Mr. Trump on his election as the President of the United States.

He said the two leaders discussed ways to improve cooperation in the fight against terrorism through the provision of necessary equipment.

Mr. Trump assured the Nigerian leader of U.S. readiness to cut a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism, Mr. Adesina said.

He commended Mr. Buhari for the efforts he made in rescuing 24 of the Chibok girls and the strides being taken by the Nigerian Army in combating Boko Haram. Mr. Trump also invited the Nigerian President to Washington at a mutually convenient date, the special adviser said.

Mr. Adesina added that, "President Trump encouraged President Buhari to keep up the good work he is doing, and also commended him for the efforts made in rescuing 24 of the Chibok Girls and the strides being taken by the Nigerian military."

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