Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Washington DC
The Presidency has said former President Barrack Obama’s administration failed Nigeria as it did not receive support in its fight against terrorism.
Obama had, in May 2015, supported Nigeria’s neighbouring countries with $35 million worth of military and defence support services to Chad, Niger and Mali; channeled through France.
The White House had said at the time the support was to help shore up the security of the three French-speaking African nations that share borders with Nigeria but excluded
Nigeria, which was at the centre of the terror war on Boko Haram.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration had accused the United States of not providing sufficient support for its fight against Boko Haram; at a moment when help was vital.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, told newsmen at Blair House, yesterday, that the meeting between the host, President Donald Trump and Buhari will centre on security, especially on the fight against terrorism among others.
Shehu said Buhari’s visit to the White House is a pointer to two important things. “One is, no matter how Nigerians take our own country, this is hugely an important country and this recognition is being manifested in this visit.
“And, for the President personally, it is equally important that of all of the heads of state we have in the continent, he, of all of them, has come forward to meet president Trump.
“But, it is important to know that beyond the symbolism of the visit, there are important matters affecting both countries that will be placed on the table when the two presidents meet…
“It is important that cooperation between the two countries have manifestly increased under the Trump’s presidency. If you recall sometime back, the president had reason to openly complain that we were not receiving as much as we thought we deserved, in terms of support and cooperation, especially in our fight against terrorism back then, during the Obama period.
“And, it will seem that quite dramatically and interestingly, a lot of the obstacles are being removed under the Trump presidency and doors are being opened and we are receiving far more support than most people had expected.”
Dignitaries who received Buhari in Washington were governors of Ogun State, Ibikunke Amosun, Plateau, Simon Lalong, Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Monsurat Sunmonu and her counterpart from the House of Representatives Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje.
Others were the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; Director General for the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar,, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.