NIGERIA: The leaders we elect – Trump found Buhari ‘lifeless’
US President Donald Trump told his aides he never again wanted to meet someone so lifeless as Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, 75, following their meeting at the White House in April, three unnamed sources have told the UK-based Financial Times newspaper.
Mr Buhari was the first leader from sub-Saharan Africa to be invited by Mr Trump to the White House, suggesting that the US president saw Nigeria – a leading oil producer which is battling militant Islamists – as a key ally.
Perhaps warning bells rang when Mr Trump started off asking Mr Buhari how he was getting on with “that Boca Haram”, a reference to militant Islamist group Boko Haram.
But then again, maybe that slip of the tongue was predictable.
Less so was what he said next, as the former reality television star weighed in on the conflict between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria’s Middle Belt – or the way in which he would frame it.
“We have had very serious problems with Christians who are being murdered in Nigeria,” Mr Trump said. “We are going to be working on that problem very, very hard because we cannot allow that to happen.”
Mr Trump is due to meet Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta later on Monday to discuss trade and security.
“Trump likes chemistry. Africa has never been high on his radar but if the big guy likes you he’ll find a way to make things work,” an unnamed person in contact with US and Kenyan officials told the Financial Times.