Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, is hopeful that talks with U.S. President Barack and other officials of the American government will lead to better mutual understanding and deepened bilateral relations between Nigeria and the United States, especially in Nigeria’s current priority areas of defence and security.
A statement by a spokesman for the President, Mr Femi Adesina, said that President Buhari had very successful and useful talks with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, other high-ranking US government officials and members of United States Congress during his visit to Washington DC.
President Buhari returned to Nigeria on Thursday after a four-day official visit to the United States, where the talks were held.
‘Widely Off Mark’
According to the statement, there have been claims in the local and international media that President Buhari had accused or indicted the United States Government of helping the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
The presidency said the statements were untrue and widely off mark.
“Reports to that effect are an unfortunate misinterpretation and distortion of the President’s remarks at the United States “Institute of Peace (USIP) during his highly successful official visit to Washington DC.
“Indeed, President Buhari made it abundantly clear in those remarks, copies of which were circulated to the media, that he was convinced that the United States could never support groups such as Boko Haram,” the statement read.
Buhari had told a gathering at the USIP on Wednesday that he knew that the American people could not support any group engaged in these crimes.
Mr Adesina further stressed that the regrets expressed by President Buhari at USIP about the impact of the application of the Leahy Law on Nigeria’s war against Boko Haram and terrorism could not be construed as an indictment of President Barack Obama and the United States Government who have publicly and privately declared their preparedness to give the Buhari Administration the fullest possible support and assistance.
“Within the context in which they were made, President Buhari’s comments on the adverse effect of the Leahy Law on Nigeria’s efforts to contain Boko Haram’s atrocious acts of terrorism should only be taken as a passionate appeal for even greater understanding and support from a very powerful and longstanding ally.
“President Buhari has nothing but the highest possible regard for President Obama, the United States Government, the people of the United States, their laws and institutions,” he said.