During a Monday press conference with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, President Donald Trump affirmed his commitment to fighting terrorism in Africa and stopping the persecution of Christians in Nigeria, according to CBS.
“We’ve had very serious problems with Christians who are murdered, killed in Nigeria,” Trump said. He said the United States “can’t allow that to happen,” but added that he and Buhari are working on the problem “very, very hard.”
Pres Trump welcomes Pres Buhari of Nigeria to the Oval Office. Stresses problem of terrorism. "It's a hotbed and we're going to be stopping that," say @POTUS. Also decries Christians murdered in Nigeria. Says will work on that problem hard "because we can't allow that to happen." pic.twitter.com/jVMPXPh5EX
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) April 30, 2018
Earlier this week, Pastor Samson Ayokunle, president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, begged Buhari for action, according to Africanews.
‘‘I believe that President Muhammadu Buhari can bring these killings to an end,” Ayokunle said. “I believe that if he rises up, these people will stop. Who are these people? Can they face Buhari? They can’t. Buhari should just stand up and speak to them. We don’t carry arms. We will not carry arms. We don’t teach carrying arms, but we can call on God. Our God is bigger than human ammunition.”
The International Crisis Group reported that more than 2,500 people were killed in Nigeria in 2016. Boko Haram, an Islamic militant group, has been the leader in attacks against Christians.
During Monday’s press conference, Trump said he will fight terrorism where it shows itself.
.@POTUS Trump with President @MBuhari: #Nigeria is a valued partner and a great friend. The United States is committed to working alongside Nigeria as we seek a future of strength, property, and peace for both of our countries. pic.twitter.com/p9WAoIDEbR
— Department of State (@StateDept) April 30, 2018
“Here and all over the world, it’s a hot bed and were going to be stopping that,” he said.
“We have very much decimated ISIS. Much has taken place over the last 12 months. But Boko Haram has been terrible,” Trump said, according to the White House press pool’s report of the press conference.
The president noted that he and Buhari also touched on economic and military ties between the two nations.
“We also have a very big trade deal that we’re working on for military equipment — helicopters and the like. We have met before. We have developed a great relationship,” Trump said.
Buhari called the Trump administration’s efforts to attack the Islamic State helpful, because Boko Haram has been one of the group’s allies, and said American military support is essential.
“We very grateful to the United States for agreeing to give us the aircraft we asked for — the spare parts. We are even more grateful for the physical presence of the United States military … 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,” he said.
The Nigerian leader said Trump “deserves great deal of credit” for his “statesmanly” role in trying to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Trump said the U.S. “deeply values and appreciates Nigeria’s role as a strong democratic leader in the region.”
He said that in seeking to create a “level playing field” for trade, there were discussions about potentially “taking down the trade barriers” between the U.S. and Nigeria.
Trump said the U.S. provides Nigeria more than $1 billion annually in aid, and that it would be appropriate for Nigeria to drop trade barrier in return, Boston.com reported.
“We think that we are owed that,” Trump said.
Buhari was the first leader from an African nation to be received for talks at the Trump White House.
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