Published On: Mon, Apr 30th, 2018

Trump’s “Shithole” Remark: Buhari Expresses Doubt Over U.S. Media Reports, Says “I’m Not Sure Of Validity

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…As Trump Hails Buhari’s Anti-graft effort, pledges more assistance

By Sadiq Umar – Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari says he did not discuss with President Donald Trump the controversial remarks in which the American president reportedly disparaged African countries as “shithole,” because he did not trust what media writes about the American president.

Mr. Buhari spoke in response to a question by a journalist during a joint press conference with Mr. Trump at Rose Garden at the White House, Monday.

The reporter had asked that, “President Buhari, you are the first African president to visit the White House since the Presdent of the United State remarks in which he used vulgar language to describe African nations, did you discuss this with him?”

“Well, l’m very careful with what the Press says about other than myself and l’m not sure of the validity or whether the allegations against the president are true or not. so the best thing for me is to keep quite,” Mr. Buhari quipped.

However, Mr. Trump cut in, saying we didn’t discuss it. We do have some countries that are in very bad shape….But we didn’t discuss it since the president knows me. He knows where l’m coming from and l appreciate him, we did not discuss it

The Nigerian president, however, said his discussion with the American president centred on Trade, economy, agriculture, human rights and fight against terrorism.

He hailed Mr. Trump over the recent peace efforts between the South and North Korean, saying it underscore his commitment to global peace and stability.

Mr. Buhari, in a prepared speech read to White House correspondents also praised the Trump administration’s support for Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram. He informed that the government of Nigeria had adopted a multi-sectoral approach to combating insurgency, including addressing socio-economic problems.

The Nigerian president observed that the U.S. is the largest contributor to the humanitarian efforts in the volatile north east region where millions of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) exist, especially through the UN and other international agencies.

He said his government is working hard to promote peaceful co-existence between herdsmen and farmers.

“l expressed congratulation to President Trump” for what he described as his government’s performance in boosting American economy under his watch, adding that his aim is to diversify Nigeria’s economy focusing on mining and agriculture.

He welcome American’s investment in Nigeria’s economy, especially the non-oil sector.

Responding to question on recent U.S. decision on travel ban, Mr. Trump, said Mr. Buhari is a good friend of his and that the Nigerian president trusts that he is a good friend of Africans and Nigerians.

He said he owed no one any apology about his denigrating remarks on immigrants in the light of recent court decision over ruling his policy on travel ban, insisting that he has an obligation to ensure border security and to protect the interest of the U.S.

Mr. Trump said Nigeria is one of America’s largest trading partners in the region, adding that the U.S. is “committed to growing the business relationship based on the principle of fairness and reciprocity.”

“We give Nigeria well over $1billion in aids every year, adding that Nigeria is a strategic partner of the U.S. in Africa. He said there is a talk on taking down the trade barrier between the U.S. and Nigeria.

“We are also helping our Nigeria partner by facilitating good intelligence sharing and by providing equipment and military training to Nigerian forces. “For example, we recently sold 12 super Tucano aircraft in the first ever sale of American military equipment to Nigeria.

“These aircraft will improve Nigeria’s ability to target terrorists and protect civilians.

He expressed “deep concern about killing of Christians in Nigeria, including burning of churches and persecution of Christians, it is a horrible story,” the U.S. president added.

He urged Nigerian government and indeed local leaders “including Muslims and including Christians” to join hands to stop the carnage.

He said Nigeria who he further described as “valued partner and friend” is one of the first nation’s to join in the coalition to defeat ISIS, adding that Nigeria forces is currently leading Africa efforts to combat terrorism, especially the Boko Haram in West Africa.

He noted that Nigeria is also leading Africa fight Boko Haram another jihadist Islamist terrorist, describing it as very ruthless, we having being reading about them, they kidnapped young school girls” he said, pledging further that America’s commitment to fight terrorism, slavery and human trafficking.

Mr. Trump expressed delight in meeting two of the Nigerian school girls who are victims of Boko Haram abduction, praising their courage and resilience in the face of brutal insurgent activities in their northeast part of Nigeria.

He said his administration is ready at all time to sell its military helicopters to the country to assist her counter terrorism effort.

“We have the best military equipment in the world, now we can sell to Nigeria as many as they want, before we were not selling, and that’s for good reasons, but now we can sell,” Mr. Trump added.

He remarked that president Buhari is also taking steps to fight corruption, saying that would create enabling environment for American businessmen to invest in Nigeria.

The U.S. president praised Mr. Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts, but failed to be categorical about repatriation of looted fund in his country to Nigeria.

He further expressed America’s desire for a deepened relationship with Nigeria.

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