…President departs Abuja today
President Barack Obama is to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari this week on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in Germany.
The summit takes place at Schloss Elmau, a 100-year-old castle-turned-resort nestled in a national forest in the Bavarian Alps.
Obama is scheduled to spend today and tomorrow with Buhari and the leaders of Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom as well as leaders from Iraq and Tunisia.
Nigeria, Tunisia and Iraq are attending a portion of the meetings dedicated to outreach partners. That meeting will include a discussion about terrorism.
Buhari is departing Abuja today for the summit.
Mallam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said yesterday that the President’s invitation to the meeting “is a clear indication of the international community’s willingness to cooperate with the new government of Nigeria.”
Shehu said: “He is in a group of seven other Heads of State who were called in as guests. He will equally be holding key side meetings with some of the seven Heads of State who will be convened at the summit.
“The international community is obviously acknowledging Nigeria’s significant role in global affairs especially with the recent change in government.”
Obama and Buhari are expected to discuss the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast.
The meeting is a follow up to that between Buhari and the US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry shortly after the inauguration of the Nigerian President penultimate Friday.
Officials in Washington D.C. said during the week that the USA will be dispatching a team to Abuja soon to assist in the war against Boko Haram.
Boko Haram has increased its attacks and suicide bombings in the wake of the vow by Buhari to crush the ‘mindless’ and “godless” group.
The Washington Post reported yesterday that while the US is eager to defeat Boko Haram it is being cautious of offering a large increase in military assistance to Nigeria before the armed forces are restructured.
It quoted an unnamed senior US official as saying: “I think we might be seeing the end of the large battlefield phase of this, but if Boko Haram goes back to hit-and-run tactics, it could be even harder for Nigerian military forces.”
The paper said the United States is trying to navigate ways to support Nigeria’s new leader, without violating American legislation that prevents it from giving aid to human rights abusers.
An Amnesty International report during the week accused the hierarchy of the Nigerian military of human rights abuse in the course of the war against Boko Haram.
President Buhari has promised to probe the allegations.