Muhammadu Buhari, Donald Trump on phoneIn a surprise move and against American policy on arm procurement, the United States President Donald Trump has promised to sell weapons to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram terrorists.
The promise was made by Trump in a telephone conversation with President Muhammadu Buhari.
The telephone call was the first official conversation between President Trump with any African leader since he took office in January 2017.
During the previous administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, the American government under Barack Obama refused to sell weapons to Nigeria because of deep concerns over human-rights abuses by the Nigerian military.
On several occasions, American government blocked the sale of American-made Cobra attack helicopters and other weapons to Nigeria even from Israel because of concerns that the Nigerian army was failing to protect civilians during military operations. There were also legislative restrictions on U.S. arms sales to Nigeria and other countries where the military has a poor human-rights record.
A statement by Buhari’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina said President Muhammadu Buhari who is in London spoke to President Donald Trump on telephone at the request of the American President.
The statement said: “President Trump assured the Nigerian President of US readiness to cut a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism.”
The two leaders discussed ways to improve cooperation in the fight against terrorism through provision of necessary equipment.
President Trump encouraged President Buhari to keep up the good work he is doing, and also commended him for the efforts made in rescuing 24 of the Chibok Girls and the strides being taken by the Nigerian military.
The conversation was cordial and President Buhari congratulated Trump on his election as President of the United States, and on his cabinet.
President Trump also invited President Buhari to Washington at a mutually convenient date.