• Economy, security top agenda as he meets Trump today
By Lawrence Olaoye
All is now set for a high level bilateral talks between President Muhammadu Buhari and the US president, Donald Trump in the United States of America.
Already, Buhari arrived the United States of America yesterday ahead of his meeting with President Donald Trump today, according to reports made available to local journalists.
Buhari departed Nigeria for the United States on Saturday for a 3-day state visit that will climax in the meeting with President Donald Trump today, during which both leaders will fine-tune modalities for future bilateral and diplomatic relations between the two countries.
While the US holds the status of the world’s leading economy, trailed closely by China, Nigeria is famous as the leading economy in Africa with prospects of being among the top world leaders by 2050, according projections.
And upon his arrival in the US yesterday, a pro-Buhari group stormed the Blair House, which is the official Guest House of the US President where Buhari is being lodged, for solidarity visit carrying placards in support of the Nigerian leader’s fight against corruption and his re-election.
Blair House is where all US Presidents-elect stay before moving to White House and is reserved for very important dignitaries to US.
Speaking from Blair House, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu noted that the meeting between Presidents Trump and Buhari will center on security, especially on the fight against terrorism, among others.
Malam Shehu said that the relationship between Nigeria and the US has recorded remarkable improvement since the coming on board of President Trump.
Shehu also added: “He is the first African head of government to visit the Trump White House; and this is a pointer to two important things – One is, no matter how Nigerians take our own country, this is hugely an important country, and this recognition is being manifested in this visit.
“And for the President personally, it is equally important that of all of the heads of state we have in the continent of Africa, that he, of all of them, has come forward to meet with President Donald Trump.
“But, it is important to know that beyond the symbolism of the visit, there are important matters affecting both countries that will be placed on the table when the two Presidents meet.
“We have the understanding that the two delegations have their agenda clearly spelt out, and there will be interest and focus on the matter of security and safety, focus on trade and investment and focus on democratic development in our country.
“It is important that cooperation between the two countries has manifestly increased under the Trump’s presidency. If you recall sometime back, the President had reason to openly complain that we are not receiving as much as we thought we deserve in terms of support and cooperation, especially in our fight against terrorism back then, during the Obama period.
“And it will seem that quite dramatically and interestingly, a lot of the obstacles are being removed under the Trump’s presidency and doors are being opened; and we are receiving far more support than most people had expected.”
On the solidarity rally by some Nigerians in the Diaspora for the President, Shehu said, “It is a very pleasant development; and this tells you that America is a totally different clime. There is a deep appreciation for the work the President is doing for our country.”
The leader of pro-Buhari support group in the US, Wale Adewoye, in an interview said, “We are here to support the President. When we came we are over one hundred and fifty people but because of the cold and people needed to go back to work, so people went back.
“We realized that there is a lot of damage done to the county; and when Buhari came into power he tried, at least, to stop corruption in Nigeria. He is still working on it. It is not easy.
“So, we just felt that we should support him in our little way, to encourage the government that we are behind him to support him. On our own way too, when we go back home, we make sure that we don’t influence things negatively, we work on our ways of life to live right.”
President Buhari is in the United States on the invitation of the American leader.
On ground at the Blair House to receive President Buhari were the Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunke Amosun, his counterpart from Plateau State, Simon Lalong, Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and her counterpart from House of Representatives Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje.
Others were the Chief of Defence Staff, Director General, NIA, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, the Nigeria Ambassador to the United States, Justice Sylvester Nsofor, rtd, among others.