US president Donald Trump triggered a major diplomatic incident today when he dispensed of all traditional niceties that go with meetings of Heads of State to go for the jugular in an Oval Office meeting with Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari and address the endless spate of killings in his country.
Trump said he was concerned about religious violence in Nigeria, the burning of churches and persecution of Christians. As the obsequious Buhari shrunk even further into his seat, the US leader told him, in Trump’s typical brash manner, that he must do more to protect innocent civilians. The US president said: “Also, we’ve had very serious problems with Christians who have been murdered, killed in Nigeria. We’re going to be working on that problem, and working on that problem very, very hard, because we can’t allow that to happen”.
Watch the encounter below:
Buhari then went into his tired old excuse-making spiel, how Nigerians have always killed each other through history, problems of Islamic State, the overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya, how it was all nothing to do with his own ineptness.
Trump was more diplomatic when both men faced the press at the White House Rose Garden and none of the press corps had any elephant traps waiting for Buhari. Trump was asked about Iran’s nuclear deal and he said Nigeria could have done with some of the money that Iran got from the US in that deal. No one questioned Buhari about the killings of hundreds of Shia Muslims by the Nigerian army in December 2015.
Watch the joint presser:
Buhari said he never bothered to raise the issue of Trump describing countries like Nigeria as a “shithole” during their meeting. While Trump was obviously pleased that no embarrassing questions came from Buhari, then complimented the Nigerian ruler for allegedly cutting down corruption and “substantially making progress” on this.
Trump also claimed that he wanted to be able to sell “agricultural products” to Nigeria. But the Nigerian government is officially trying to reduce the reliance on imports.