- Presidency has reacted to media reportage of President Buhari and President Trump's meeting
- Garba Shehu, a senior special assistant to president on media and publicity, described the media reports of Trump's comments on killings in Nigeria as unfair
- He said that Trump did not isolate killing of Christians in his comments but also mentioned killings of Muslims in the northeast
Presidency has criticised the Nigerian media for the way they presented the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and his host, United States President Donald Trump, especially on the killing of Christians in the country.
Nigerian Tribune reports that the senior special assistant to the president, Garba Shehu, who took the media to task on the matter in an article made available to the media in Abuja on Thursday, May 3, also condemned Muslim groups’ reactions to the Trump’s remarks.
Legit.ng gathered that he said: “Still on President Buhari’s meeting with Trump, it is important to explain the context of the remarks by President Trump where he was quoted as saying the U.S is concerned about the murder or killing, as he put it, of Christians.
“At the press conference, President Trump towards the end of his remarks, at the briefing, mentioned the protection of ‘innocent civilians of all faiths, including Muslims and Christians.’ which reporters left out.
“In his remarks, the US President neither chided nor talked down on President Buhari, saying that ‘we will do something about that,’ is a clear expression of willingness to support Nigeria to bring to an end the unwanted killings.
“This is contrary to the press reporting which jumped on the issue, conveying a wrong impression that President Trump was only concerned about the lives of Christians. He mentioned Muslim lives as well.
During the one-on-one meeting with President Buhari on Monday, April 30, the US President had said: “We have met before, developing a great relationship. We look forward to our discussions today. They are very important, but again, especially as it relates to terrorism. That is terrorism here and terrorism all over the world. It’s a hotbed and we are going to be stopping them.
“Also we have had a very serious problem with Christians who are being murdered, killed in Nigeria. We gonna be working on that problem and working on that problem very very hard because we can’t allow that to happen.
“Mr President thank you for being here, thank you.”
In condemning the Muslim groups, the presidential aide said: “Equally wrong was the hasty condemnation of the U.S. President by some Muslim groups in the country without the benefit of a full view and understanding of what was said and the context in which it was said.”
He observed that Buhari had disappointed opponents who he said were hoping that the visit would be a flop, saying that, “President Buhari, to the disappointment of this group, delivered a calm, brilliant performance.
"He refused to be provoked and did not get angry at the taunting. He instead turned his attention to the task at hand and at the end, came home satisfied that he got everything he wanted from the US administration.
"The Rose Garden worked out very much for him as a routine engagement, certainly not like the make-or-break meeting as some wanted it to be.
Shehu spoke on the achievements of the meeting citing the good remarks made by Trump concerning Buhari.
He added: “First of all, it is important to state that from the very beginning, the two leaders got on very well with one another. They also shared a common respect for each other.
“Some key remarks made by President Trump on our president sum this up:
“He said President Buhari ‘is a rare leader;’ he said ‘I respect him a lot’ and said our leader had ‘succeeded in cutting down corruption.’ He called President Buhari a “valued partner” and a ‘strong democrat.’
“The two parties had agreed before the meeting that discussions will be on three key issues namely Security/Counter-Terrorism, Trade, and Development of Democracy in Nigeria.
“On security, the Nigerian delegation was pleased from the onset that the Trump administration had agreed to the major sale of military equipment to Nigeria. Team Nigeria was equally pleased with the much-increased role of the US in assisting the efforts to defeat terrorism in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region in general.
“The president expressed appreciation for these and requested additional support to counter-insurgency.
“On the specific issue of the sale of the 12 Super Tucano A-29 warplanes and weapons to Nigeria to effectively fight terrorism, President Buhari told his American counterpart that we are pleased with this, but want delivery to be fast-tracked, given the security situation in the country.
“Expectedly, President Trump said yes to this, and, additionally promised the sale of helicopters and about just everything President Buhari wanted.”
The statement said Buhari also conveyed the country’s appreciation for the U.S. support for the humanitarian situation in the Northeast, with a contribution of 500 million US Dollars in cash and in-kind contributions, the highest by anyone, through the United Nations and other inter-governmental organizations.
He noted however that the scope of work to be done was larger than anyone had envisaged, noting that Nigeria wanted the US to do more.
“President Trump didn’t say no, only that he wanted more access to the Nigerian market for their agricultural goods,” he added, saying that the request was opened for debate.
The statement said Trump commended Buhari for the actions he had taken on corruption and other spheres of the nation’s economy.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that President Muhammadu Buhari spoke in a joint press conference with his American counterpart, Donald Trump at the White House in Washington D.C.
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