…President now in London
From Aidoghie Paulinus, New York
The Federal Government, has disclosed issues President Muhammadu Buhari discussed with the United States, President Donald Trump.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who accompanied the president to the lunch Trump had with select African leaders, said Buhari seized the opportunity to put forward some of Nigeria’s priorities.
Onyeama added that Buhari also seized the forum to get a sense of what the US planned to do and support the processes.
The minister disclosed that the weaponry US promised to release to Nigeria have been delivered.
He particularly mentioned the Super Tucano aircraft which would assist Nigeria in prosecuting the war against Boko Haram.
Said Onyeama: “He thanked president Trump for having called him when he was in London recuperating, and for his very thoughtful gesture and good wishes and commended him because at that time, he promised to release some weapons that the US was reluctant to sell to Nigeria and for having kept his word because they have been delivered, approval for the sale of Super Tucano aircraft which is badly needed in our fight against terrorists. He thanked him for that.
“He also thanked him for the US’ support with regards to fighting oil theft in the Gulf of Guinea and other security challenges there.
“The president raised the issue with his US counterpart, of the anti-corruption fight and our efforts to have them returned to Nigeria, huge funds that have been stolen and, in some cases, lodged in the American banking system.
“So, he brought that to the attention of president Trump and I was hopeful that the US and he, in particular, would do whatever he could to facilitate the recovery process of those funds,” Onyeama said.
The minister affirmed that the meeting was a very good one, and added that president Buhari spoke generally about some of the challenges being faced in Africa and how the US could engage more positively with Africa.
Meanwhile, Buhari has left New York for London.
He left yesterday morning.
The president left the Millennium Hilton Hotel, New York, United States, at exactly 08:07am US time.
He was officially accompanied to the airport by Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof Tijjani Bande.
The president departed the John Fitzgerald Kennedy International Airport at 10:00am, local time.
On hand to bid the president farewell were Onyeama, Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen Mansur Mohammed Dan-Ali, Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, Minister of State, Environment, Ibrahim Jibrin, former secretary to the government of the federation, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, among others.
The venue of the United Nations Plaza Tower, however, became crowded due to scores of Nigerian officials who were either present to bid the president farewell or catch a glimpse of him.
Buhari arrived New York on Sunday evening, for the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
He delivered Nigeria’s address on Tuesday, during UNGA’s General Debate.
On the margins of UNGA, the president met with King Abdullah II of the Kingdom of Jordan and thanked him for the donation of military hardware, in support of the country’s fight against terrorism.
The president, with select African leaders, nine in numbers, had lunch with Trump on Wednesday, with a response from Guinean President Alpha Conde.
Buhari also had a bilateral meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.
Guterres thanked the president for the fight against Boko Haram and corruption and also discussed the issue of the shrinking of the Lake Chad Basin.