Obama expresses confidence in Buhari’s administration

*President Barack Obama receiving President Muhammadu Buhari.

*President Barack Obama receiving President Muhammadu Buhari.

…Commends Nigeria’s economic reforms

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

22 September 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – U.S. President Barack Obama on has commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic reforms, describing them as “bold”.

This was as Obama stated that the American government had confidence in the current political leadership in Nigeria.

Mr. Obama made the commendation when he met with Mr. Buhari on the sideline of the ongoing 71st UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

Both President spoke at a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 71st edition of the UN General Assembly, holding in New York.

A statement by Buhari’s spokesman¬†Mr. Femi Adesina stated that while thanking America for help rendered in the area of security through provision of armaments, training for Nigerian troops, and sharing of intelligence, which has led to the degradation of Boko Haram in the North East, President Buhari said the country was open to supporting in combating the humanitarian crisis currently ravaging the region.

The President said the farming season was good this year, with the prospect of good harvest, and “Nigeria is on the road to food self-sufficiency soon. We shall be able to feed ourselves, and utilize the billions of dollars spent on importing food from other productive areas.”

President Buhari reiterated that his administration came to power on the tripod promises of security, the battle against corruption, and revamping of the economy, stressing that there would be no let-up in fulfilling those electoral promises.

President Buhari noted that “We are making definite progress on how many factions of the militant groups exist, their leadership and operational basis, and we have equally sought the cooperation of the oil majors. In a short while, I believe the issues would be resolved.”

He wished President Obama a happy retirement, as he winds down gradually on his tenure in office.

Responding, the American President described President Buhari as a man of “integrity and honesty,” adding that, “We have confidence in your leadership. There are some difficulties you face, but this administration is willing to assist in the short time we have left. You have made real progress in defeating the brutal organization called Boko Haram, and that was achieved because of your leadership.”

President Obama offered a hand of fellowship to Nigeria “in the final and comprehensive defeat of Boko Haram, resolution of the Niger Delta crisis, which would help ramp up oil production and increase revenue, resolving the humanitarian crisis in the North East, recovering stolen money, and revamping the economy.”

Describing Nigeria as a big and important country in sub-Saharan Africa, the American President said his country looked forward to a framework for sustained partnership between the two nations.

He said the U.S. would continue to offer support to Nigeria in areas of agricultural development, recovery of stolen funds and the fight against Boko Haram.

He said his country would put things on the ground to sustain partnership and cooperation between the two countries.

President Obama said at a briefing after the bilateral talks, “We discussed broader issues on development and the president is taking some very bold economic reforms in allowing for a flexible exchange rate.

“We are focusing on agriculture and we pledged to offer all the assistance that we can in that area and as the president is trying to stamp out corruption and to recover external funds that may have been illegally obtained and are sitting in bank accounts around the world.

“As he continues to work to see that the security forces inside Nigeria are abiding by professional and human right standards, what we have pledged is that we will partner in any way that we can be helpful.”

The U.S. leader said his administration was carefully coordinating additional ways to make further progress in not only destroying Boko Haram but to ensure that the region fully recovered.

He said America was also willing to assist Nigeria in facilitate a reduction of the conflict in the Niger Delta region.

“America is willing to help in any way it can to facilitate a reduction of conflict in the Niger Delta region, a major oil-producing region, but one that has been mired by a number of militant organizations that have appropriated or siphoned off the oil revenues.

“The president, I think, is wisely heading a delegation to bring varying stakeholders together and try to make progress on that front. We want to be helpful in any way that we can,” Mr. Obama said.

In his remarks, President Buhari thanked Mr. Obama for the assistance rendered so far in the fight against terrorism, especially in the training of Nigerian military in both hard and software.

He said steady progress was being made towards resolving the problem in the Niger Delta region, which led to economic sabotage on a grand scale.

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