A top adviser to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari blasted the Obama administration for not providing the African country “as much” support to combat terrorism “as we thought we deserved” on Sunday, noting that cooperation between the two countries has improved under President Donald Trump.
Malam Garba Shehu, the senior special adviser to President Buhari on media and publicity, made those comments on Sunday as the Nigerian leader arrived to visit Trump at the White House, Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper reports.
On board the Nigeria Air Force aircraft carrying Buhari to Washington, DC, on Sunday, Shehu reportedly declared:
It is important that cooperation between the two countries have [sic] manifestly increased under the Trump’s presidency. If you recall sometime back, the President [Buhari] had reason to openly complained [sic] 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.
Referring to Buhari, Shehu added,
He is the first African head of government to visit the Trump White House. … We have the understanding that the two delegations have their agenda clearly spelled 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.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told lawmakers last week he expects American military assistance in the fight against the Nigeria-based Boko Haram jihadist group to increase in the coming months.
President Trump has also expressed support for the sale of warplanes to Nigeria to help the country fight the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL)-linked terrorist group.
On Monday, Trump held a bilateral meeting with his Nigerian counterpart at the White House.
Referring to the meeting, Trump said:
We also have a very big trade deal that we’re working on for military equipment — helicopters and the like. We have met before. We have developed a great relationship. And we look forward to our discussion today — very important — but again, especially as it relates to terrorism.
We’ve had very serious problems with Christians who have been murdered, killed in Nigeria. We’re going to be working on that problem, and working on that problem very, very hard, because we can’t allow that to happen.
Nigerian President Buhari reportedly shares his ethnicity with the semi-nomadic Muslim Fulani herdsmen group that has intensified fatal attacks on Christians in the African country in recent months.
The Nigeria-based Boko Haram jihadist group is also known to target Christians.
At the White House, Buhari said:
Sadly, security is the main issue. We very grateful to the United States for agreeing to give us the aircraft we asked for — the spare parts. We are even more grateful for the physical presence of the United States military. … So the commitment of the United States to get rid of terrorism across the world, we have firsthand experience of that, and we are very grateful for it.
Under the Obama administration, the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) often cited by the U.S. State Department, deemed the most prominent terrorist group in Nigeria — Boko Haram — the world’s deadliest jihadist group for 2014.
That year, Boko Haram was responsible for 6,664 deaths, compared to 6,073 by core ISIS jihadists.
President Buhari has falsely claimed on numerous occasions to have defeated Boko Haram, just to have the group carry out a deadly attack soon after the allegation.