Trump pledges support for Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram; Trump urges Buhari to remove barriers to US trade; A reporter asked the Nigerian president about Trump’s ‘shithole countries’ comment; Nigeria’s Relationship With U.S. Crucial to Success for Africa’s Biggest Economy; Some African nations are ‘very tough places to live’ – President Trump; Trump Asked Nigeria To Support US-Canada-Mexico Bid To Host 2026 World Cup . . .
US President Donald Trump and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on April 30, 2018 (AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB)
US President Donald Trump pledged stronger support for Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram jihadists on Monday, while demanding greater trade access to Africa’s largest economy.
After a meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, the first leader from sub-Saharan Africa invited by Trump to the White House, Trump said he was prepared to sell helicopters to Nigeria in addition to light fighter aircraft already agreed.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari & American President Donald Trump
“These new aircraft will improve Nigeria’s ability to target terrorists and protect civilians,” Trump said during a joint press conference in the White House’s Rose Garden.
Asked when the first deliveries of equipment — including a dozen A-29 Super Tucano light fighter aircraft and unspecified helicopters — would take palce, Trump replied: “Very soon.”
“We’re getting them approved. Part of the problem is you weren’t allowed to buy helicopters in our country and now you are; I worked that out,” he added.
“We make the best military equipment in the world. And our friends can now buy that equipment.”
Buhari, visiting the United States on a mission to drum up more counterterrorism support and US business investment, thanked Trump for Washington’s support to help rebuild the country’s northeast, which has been under assault for nine years from Boko Haram.
“The United States of America has been to date the biggest contributor to the humanitarian response,” said Buhari.
And Buhari diplomatically brushed off the controversy over Trump’s alleged branding of Nigeria and other African nations as “shithole countries” in a January rant over immigration.
“I’m very careful with what the press says, other than about myself,” Buhari told reporters.
“I’m not sure about the validity or whether that allegation against the president was true or not. So the best thing for me is to keep quiet.”
US President Donald Trump said Monday that he urged Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, to remove trade barriers to allow additional US investment into Nigeria.
Trump noted that the United States sends more than $1 billion in foreign aid annually to Nigeria and said it should get something in return.
‘‘We think that we are owed that,’’ Trump said at a joint White House news conference with Buhari, the first African leader to visit him at the White House. Trump said the United States ‘‘will be investing substantially in Nigeria if they can create that level playing field.’’
During a joint press conference Monday between US President Trump and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari — the first African president Trump has hosted at the White House — a reporter asked about that crass epithet Trump reportedly used to describe African countries. President Trump had said African countries are “shithole countries”
In January, reports surfaced that Trump asked a room of lawmakers in the Oval Office why the United States is “having all these people from shithole countries come here,” referring to African countries and Haiti.
On Monday, as Buhari and Trump addressed the press at the White House, an American reporter had a question for Buhari.
“President Buhari, I want to ask you — you’re the first leader from Sub-Saharan Africa to visit President Trump here at the White House. Did you address his reported comments from earlier this year when he reportedly used vulgar language to describe African nations?”
After a moment’s pause, Buhari answered.
“Well, um, I’m very careful what the press says about other than myself, I’m not sure about, you know, the validity or whether that allegation against the president is true or not. So the best thing is for me to keep quiet.”
Trump then jumped in to address the issue, as Buhari seemed to laugh nervously.
“We didn’t discuss it. You do have some countries that are in very bad shape and very tough places to live in, but we didn’t discuss it because the president knows me and he knows where I’m coming from, and I appreciate that. We didn’t discuss it.”
President Trump caused anger in Nigeria last year after reports that he said Nigerians wouldn’t want to return to their ‘‘huts’’ if allowed to visit the US.
Nigeria was also among the African nations that summoned the US ambassador to explain Trump’s comments comparing Africa to a filthy toilet.
President Donald Trump on Monday, April 30, 2018 at the White House provided an opportunity for reflection on the important relationship that Nigeria and the United States have forged over the last five decades of Nigeria’s democracy.
The United States was one of the first countries President Buhari visited after he was sworn in as president in 2015. It was a necessary trip, aimed at rebuilding what was at the time a troubled relationship between the two countries. The success of the rapprochement has been more visible in the progress made with American support in the fight against Boko Haram in Nigeria’s northeast.
An arms sales embargo imposed on Nigeria by the U.S. government during President Goodluck Jonathan’s time in office has since been lifted. President Trump and IPresident Buhari spoke by telephone in February 2017 and Trump expressed full support for the sale of U.S.-built A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to Nigeria, to boost the capacity of the Nigerian Air Force to respond decisively to the threat of terrorism and banditry. That deal has now been finalized.
Only two weeks ago, the militaries of the US and Nigeria collaborated to host the largest gathering of African Army chiefs to discuss cooperation aimed at improving security on the continent, in Abuja, Nigeria.
In trade and investment, as in security, U.S. companies have been worthy and supportive investment partners over the last couple of years, Buhari said in the White House Rose Garden press conference.
In recent years, the Coca-Cola Company entered a strategic alliance—estimated at $400 million—with Tropical General Investments (TGI) Group to increase its footprint in Nigeria’s consumer foods sector for the long term. Similarly, Kellogg Company commissioned a $30 million cereal factory in Nigeria, in a joint venture with a Singaporean conglomerate, and both partners have disclosed plans to invest another $50 million on expanding the factory.
The future of U.S.-Nigeria collaboration in the technology sector is similarly bright. Andela, a startup backed by American venture capital and which trains young Africans as software engineers, has its biggest campus in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.
US President Donald Trump on Monday did not deny having used a vulgar term to describe countries in Africa earlier this year as “shithole countries”. He also did not apologize for the comment as he stood in the Rose Garden alongside Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, the first African leader to visit him at the White House.
In fact, Trump seemed to double down on his view that some countries in Africa are “very tough places to live in.”
“We didn’t discuss it,” Trump said at a joint news conference in response to a question first put to Buhari. The Nigerian leader was asked whether he had talked to Trump about reports that the U.S. president used the word “shithole” to describe African countries in January.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is the first African leader to come to the White House since US President Donald Trump took office. Nigeria, Africa’s most-populous country with nearly 200 million people, is the continent’s largest economy and its leading crude oil exporter.
Trump said he urged Buhari to remove trade barriers in a move that will allow additional U.S. investment in the country. Trump said that the U.S. sends Nigeria more than $1 billion annually in foreign aid and that the U.S. ought to get something in return for its financial contribution.
US President Donald Trump seemed to put Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on the spot by asking for Nigeria’s backing for the U.S. bid.
On Monday, in a joint-press conference with Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, US President Donald Trump asked for African countries, and others, to support the campaign for the three North American nations to land the 2026 edition of the world’s biggest sporting event.
“I hope all African countries and countries throughout the world — that we also will be supporting you, and that they will likewise support us in our bid along with Canada and Mexico for the 2026 World Cup,” he said. “We will be watching very closely and any help that they can give us in that bid we would appreciate.”
This is problematic for all sorts of reasons. Firstly, it violates a FIFA rule against government interference into domestic football affairs. The U.S. is the leader of the triple-bid — 60 of the 80 games, including the opener and the final, would be played stateside — but its portion of the bid is handled by U.S. Soccer, under the domestic soccer federation’s authority. It is no business of the government’s, and in the past, FIFA has come down hard on similar interference.
In 2014, for instance, Nigeria, of all countries, was suspended from international competition by FIFA for two months because of government interference.