President Donald Trump has called on Nigeria to remove its trade barriers, saying the United States is “owed that” on account of providing the West African country with more than $1bn in foreign aid each year.
Trump, speaking on Monday at a joint press conference with Nigeria‘s President Muhammadu Buhari in Washington, DC, said the US will invest substantially in Nigeria if Buhari is able to create a more “level playing field” on trade.
Trump’s comments come ahead of a meeting between the pair, during which they are expected to discuss a range of issues, including security.
“We have many things that we do together, as you know, probably, especially on terrorism,” Trump said.
“We also have a very big trade deal that we’re working on for military equipment – helicopters and the like.”
Buhari, who is the first leader from sub-Saharan Africa to visit the White House since Trump took office more than a year ago, said he is thankful for US support in his government’s fight against Boko Haram, the armed group.
“We are even more grateful for the physical presence of the United States military [inaudible] that are going to our institutions in Nigeria, and train them and go to the front, in the northeast, to see how they are performing, as an example of the training given to them,” Buhari said.
“The commitment of the United States to get rid of terrorism across the world, we have firsthand experience of that, and we are very grateful for it.”
Buhari, who came into office promising to defeat Boko Haram has just a year left of his first term. But the fighters still pose a significant threat to Nigeria, as attacks in the northeast of the country continue to take place.
Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, said Buhari will seek to reach an agreement on acquiring military hardware from the US, which can be used to battle against Boko Haram, during his talks with Trump.
The meeting between the pair marks the second time Buhari has sat down with a US president since coming to office three years ago, following talks with Barack Obama in 2015.