President Buhari of Nigeria met with his American counterpart Donald Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
It was their first face-to-face meeting after an earlier telephone exchange in February this year.
Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, who was with Buhari in the said meeting disclosed the main issues discussed by the two leaders.
So they have tremendous respect for Mr. President and clearly we are going to leverage on that to increase our relationship (with the U.S.)– economic as well as military and social.
The issues ranged from the fight against terrorism, to repatriation of looted funds and regional maritime security.
Here are excerpts of what Onyeama told government communications machinery:
“It was the first interaction in person, because in fact when Mr. President (Buhari) spoke, first of all, he thanked President Trump for having called him when he was in London and wishing him a quick recovery.
“And he pointed out that when President Trump spoke to him then, President Trump promised to release weapons for Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram, and he thanked President Trump for keeping his promise which he had done.
“President also pointed out that there were large sums of money that had been illegally siphoned out of the country and they were in the United States and talked about the efforts that we were making to repatriate those funds back to Nigeria, because they are funds that we really need in the context of our economic challenges.
“President Trump took note of that, he was open and was hoping to use his influence to facilitate the repatriation of those.
“Our President also talked about the Gulf of Guinea (where) there are security challenges and the U.S. has also been quite helpful in that, the illegal bunkering of oil, and the weapons also that the U.S. has provided to us in that context.
The Nigerian Foreign Minister also disclosed that per the deliberations, there was goodwill towards Buhari particularly, not only from Trump but also top officials who were part of the meeting. He said they assured him of getting Trump’s support for the issues raised by Nigeria.
“So they have tremendous respect for Mr. President and clearly we are going to leverage on that to increase our relationship – economic as well as military and social,” he concluded.