Nigeria – President Barack Obama will host Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the White House on Monday, days before he travels to Kenya and Ethiopia, and the timing of their meeting is no accident because President Muhammadu Buhari has been scheduled to meet U.S President Barak Obama since June to discuss Boko Haram, White House reported
Buhari was elected as President of Nigeria in May, after defeating the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, in a moderately peaceful free election that surprised every nation for the performance. “The administration is expected to show some prompt recognition to the achievement of the democratic process and to the will of the people,” said Johnnie Carson, former U.S. ambassador to several African nations and former assistant secretary of state for African affairs, who is presently with the U.S. institute of Peace.
Since President Obama won’t stop in Nigeria on his fourth visit to Africa one week from now, it makes sense to receive the new Nigerian president to the White House before he leaves for the visit, Carson said.
The two Presidents will talk about Nigeria’s security issue and how the U.S. can help its counterterrorism plans, said Carson. President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to take action against terrorist group Boko Haram, which has carried a series of major attacks recently in the northern part of Nigeria since President Muhammadu Buhari was elected.
One of the hindrances to any collaboration is the so-called Leahy law that restricts the United States from giving military help to foreign entities that violates human rights, something that the Nigerian security forces have been blamed for doing, said Princeton Lyman, former U.S. minister to Nigeria and South Africa and a former State Department official.
The law kept the United States from authorizing the sale of attack helicopters to the Nigerian military, which in the past the previous administration referred to as crimping its power to battle Boko Haram, said Carson.
Buhari has cleaned house, firing the defense head of all branches of the military. He also dismissed the past administration’s ministers and has yet to name new ones.
The defeat of Boko Haram depends on military force, Carson said, as well as on redeveloping the north east by improving its water, health insurance, education and jobs “to bring trust and hope to what is likely the most impoverished region in Nigeria.”.”
U.S President Barack Obama and President Muhammadu Buhari are required to talk about investment opportunities and repairing corruption in the government system of Nigeria also.
In general, Buhari’s travel to U.S shows a positive move in U.S.- Nigerian relations, Lyman said. “We had difficult relations with (former President) Goodluck Jonathan,” he said. “This offers an opportunity to go back to historically what was a very good relationship between Nigeria and the United States.”