President Muhammadu Buhari has dismissed reports that he accused the United States of indirectly aiding and abetting the Islamist terror group, Boko Haram by refusing to sell arms to Nigeria.
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 20: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama (R) extends his hand for a hand shake with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (L) during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House July 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. The two leaders were expected to discuss various topics including the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The president in a statement on Friday, by presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina said the circulated report is untrue and widely off mark.
The reports to that effect are an unfortunate misinterpretation of the president’s remarks at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) during his official visit to Washington DC.
President Buhari made it clear in his remarks, copies of which were circulated to the media, that he was convinced that the United States could never support terrorist groups such as Boko Haram.
The statement read: “I know the American people cannot support any group engaged in these crimes.”
He said the regrets expressed by the president at USIP about the impact of the application of the Leahy Law on Nigeria’s war against Boko Haram cannot be construed as an indictment of President Barack Obama and the United States Government who have publicly and privately declared their preparedness to give the Buhari’s administration the fullest support.
The presidential aide said the context in which the remarks were made, on the adverse effect of the Leahy Law on Nigeria’s war against Boko Haram’s atrocious acts of terrorism should only be taken as a passionate appeal for even greater understanding and support from a very powerful and longstanding ally.
According to Adesina, President Buhari has nothing but the highest regard for President Obama, the United States Government, the people of the United States, their laws and institutions.
He said President Buhari had very successful talks with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, other high-ranking US government officials and members of United States Congress during his visit.
It is his expectation that those talks will lead to better mutual understanding and a further deepening of bilateral relations between Nigeria and the United States, especially in Nigeria’s current priority areas of defence and security cooperation.
In a related development, Femi Fani-Kayode, former Minister of Aviation, claimed that the government of the United States helped Boko Haram insurgency to spread inside Nigeria as it refused to classify the group as a terrorist organisation until 2014.