Abuja — The United States Embassy in Abuja has refused to respond officially to a report in the Financial Times (FT) of London, where US President Donald Trump was alleged to have described President Muhammadu Buhari as not only being ailing but also lifeless.
The FT in its report of the planned meeting between Trump and his Kenya's counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, billed for Monday, had it that Trump after meeting with Buhari last April, the first with any African leader, told his aides, "he never wanted to meet someone so lifeless again".
The Monday meeting, which according to the report, is part of efforts by the Trump administration to foster stronger ties with Africa is hoped would end US neglect of the continent.
Already, the White House said Uhuru Kenyatta's Kenya was one of closest US security and trade partners in Africa.
"Donald Trump will welcome Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta to the White House on Monday for what will be only the second one-on-one meeting the US president has held with a sub-Saharan African leader since he took office last year.
"The first meeting, with Nigeria's ailing 75-year-old Muhammadu Buhari in April, ended with the US president telling aides he never wanted to meet someone so lifeless again, according to three people familiar with the matter," part of the report claimed.
However, when contacted, officials of the embassy declined comments on the issue.
On the Kenya president's visit, the report said advocates of closer US-Africa ties hope the encounter with the much younger Kenyatta, 56, "will breathe fresh life into a relationship with a region that Washington is seen to have neglected as other countries, notably China, develop ever-closer trade and investment ties with the continent".
The report added: "Africa has never been high on his radar but if the big guy likes you he'll find a way to make things work.
"Trump is widely criticised for not having an Africa policy. So it's in his interest to have something from [meeting Kenyatta] he can present as a win."