President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated President Donald Trump on the launch of Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.
Buhari said at the White House on Monday at a joint press briefing that the initiative was spearheaded by the United States Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering.
“We hope that we could continue to count on U.S. support in this area,” he told Trump at the official meeting.
He thanked the U.S. government for the cooperation Nigeria had received in its effort to recover stolen funds.
“Our two governments have put the machinery in place for their respective Attorneys-General to collaborate in ensuring the return to Nigeria of over 500 million dollars of looted funds siphoned away in banks around the world.’’
He said Nigeria very much welcomed increased U.S investment in the Nigerian economy, especially in the non-oil sector.
“Nigeria’s trade volume with the United States stood at 6.07 billion dollars, according to 2016 statistics and comprised 4.176 billion dollars’ worth of Nigerian exports to the U.S. and 1.894 billion dollars U.S. exports to Nigeria. We urged greater effort to increase these figures substantially.”
On security, Buhari said he was very grateful to the U.S. for “agreeing to sell to us the aircraft we asked for and the spare parts”.
He recognised the strong U.S. support in Nigeria’s fight against terrorism and also appreciated very much the U.S. agreement to sell 12 Super Tucano A-29 war planes and weapons to Nigeria to effectively fight terrorism.
“We expressed gratitude for U. S. support in the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in the North East of Nigeria, as well as humanitarian assistance to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), through agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other international partners.
“The USA has been to date the biggest contributor to the humanitarian response and last year gave approximately 500 million U.S. Dollars in cash and in-kind contributions through the United Nations and other inter-governmental organisations.’’
“We are even more grateful for the physical presence of the United States military who are training in our institutions and who also go to the front in the northeast to see how they are doing.
“The commitment of the United States to get rid of terrorism across the world, we have first-hand experience of that and we are very grateful for it,” he said.
He explained that Nigeria was happy with the U.S. trying to see the end of ISIS, saying this has helped Nigeria a lot because the Boko Haram in Nigeria had one time made a statement that they belonged to ISIS.
Buhari lauded the shared history of close and cordial relations between the two countries, saying it encompasses political, economic, military, social and cultural cooperation.
“Our two countries maintain a strategic partnership for peace and security, conflict resolution as well as the global fight against terrorism.
“We also share common features as secular federal states, practicing a similar democratic model of governance and committed to the universal values of fundamental human rights and freedoms, free enterprise, social justice and the rule of law.
Earlier, Trump had said he had met Buhari before and they had a great relationship.
“We have had very serious problems with Christians who are being murdered in Nigeria, we are going to be working on that problem very, very hard because we cannot allow that to happen,” Trump said.
The U.S. leader said his country had very much decimated ISIS over the last 12 months.
“But Boko Haram has been terrible. How did you do with the young women that have been kidnapped? It’s a terrible problem,” Trump had said.