Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari met with US President Barack Obama for the first time on Monday morning at the White House in Washington, DC, during the African leader’s first official visit to the US.
From the Oval Office, President Obama congratulated his counterpart on his “historic” election over his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan and praised his “reputation of integrity.”
President Buhari, Obama said, “has a very clear agenda of defeating Boko Haram and extremists of all sorts… and of rooting out the corruption that has too often held back the economic growth and prosperity of his country.” On both issues, he stated, he looks forward to increasing partnership between the two countries.
President Buhari, for his part, expressed his gratitude for the invitation to the White House and noted that diplomatic pressure from the US and Europe was part of what made the election result possible.
The US State Department had shown little interest in close cooperation with the previous administration due to its reputation for flagrant corruption, but the visit likely heralds closer ties between the two nations following Mr. Jonathan’s exit from office in May.
The official visit also follows Boko Haram’s pledge of allegiance to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in March of this year.