US President Obama may visit Nigeria


New York Times has obtained the information that American President Barack Obama is considering a trip to Nigeria in July. During the previous government of Goodluck Jonathan the Obama government had blocked a sale of American-made attack helicopters to Nigeria from Israel because of human rights concerns. Now less than two years after it poised to sell up to 12 light attack aircraft as part of an effort to assist the country’s fight against the Boko Haram sect.

However, the forthcoming sale is already facing the criticism from human rights organizations that say President Muhammadu Buhari of has not yet done enough to stop the abuses and corruption that flourished in the army under his predecessor. The planned sale shows the warming of the relationship between the Nigerian and American armies, which had worn under Jonathan. The Pentagon often bypassed Nigeria in its war against insurgents, choosing to work directly with neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

In addition to quoting corruption and sweeping human rights abuses by Nigerian soldiers, American officials were indecisive to share intelligence with the Nigerian army, saying Boko Haram had infiltrated it. Meanwhile, since Buhari was inaugurated the president he has devoted himself to rooting out graft in Africa’s largest economy.

He has sacked a number of Nigerian army officers blamed for corruption, and American military officials say they are now working closely with some of their counterparts in Nigeria. The Obama government is also considering sending dozens of Special Operations advisers to the front lines of the war against insurgents that has killed thousands of civilians in the country’s northeast as well as in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. President Buhari has also promised to probe allegations of human rights abuses and has said he will not tolerate them.

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