President Trump fails to give delivery date for $496M Super Tucano helicopters

President Muhammadu Buhari and President Donald Trump. Photo by Sunday Aghaeze.


—-US President demands a stop to attacks on Christians

…..Buhari commends US President for assisting Nigeria to purchase aircrafts  

By Kemi Yesufu

President Donald Trump has again called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that attacks on Christians and churches are stopped.

Trump made a similar call during a bilateral trade meeting with President Buhari.

“We are deeply worried by religious violence in Nigeria, including the burning of churches, the killing and persecution of  Christians. It’s a horrible story. We encourage Nigeria, the federal, state and local leaders to do everything in their power to immediately secure the affected communities and immediately secure innocent civilians of all faiths”, the U.S president said.

The American president’s advice that the killing of innocent people, most especially Christians be halted, formed part of his introductory remarks during a joint media interaction with President Buhari at the Rose Garden in the White House on Monday.

However, when President Trump was asked by a Nigerian reporter when the Super Tucano aircrafts for which the Federal Government controversially deposited about $496 million will be delivered, he didn’t give a specific answer.

He only promised that the helicopters will be delivered to the Nigerian government, “very soon”.

“We are getting them (helicopters) approved. Part of the problem was that, you weren’t allowed to buy helicopters in our country and now you are. I worked that out, so that now, you can buy the helicopters you want.

“You weren’t allowed to buy helicopters in our country for various reasons.. for me frankly were not good reasons. But now,  they can get them and they’ll get them very quickly and they are the best helicopters anywhere in the world. We make the best military equipments in the world” Trump added.

Recall that the National Assembly  accused President Buhari of committing an impeachable offence by approving the release of $496, 374, 470 million (N151, 394, 421, 335 billion) as part payment for the purchase of the aircrafts from the United States without its approval.

The US president also reinstated the commitment of his country to reducing the trade barriers between Nigeria and America. This is even as he commended Nigeria for playing a major role in the fight against terrorism.

Trump maintained that Nigeria must collaborate with the U.S and other countries to combat human trafficking and modern day slavery.

In his speech, President Buhari assured that his administration was doing all it can to protect Nigerians and  bring a lasting solution to farmers and herdsmen clashes.

He also said the Federal Government is working towards keepings its promise to bring back the remaining Chibok schools girls and  Leah Sharibu, the Christian girl who is still being held by Boko Haram.

Buhari told Tump his administration is fully committed to diversifying the Nigerian economy. He identified areas of priority to his administration to include entrenching democracy, the rule of law and fighting corruption.

“President Trump and his team, myself and the Nigerian team discussed issues related to security, trade, governance, human rights and humanitarian crises” Buhari said.

“We also congratulated the American government for the role it played in the defeat of ISIS, although some of the remnants have found their way to the Sahel region. We recognize the strong United States’ support in our fight against terrorism and also appreciated very much the United State’s agreement to sell 12 Super Tucano war planes and weapons to Nigeria to effectively fight terrorism”, he added.

During question and answer session, Buhari refused to be drawn into the lingering controversy over a statement attributed to Trump, in which he called African countries “s@*t holes’.

“I don’t know whether that allegation against the president was true or not, so the best thing  was for me is to keep quiet”, Buhari said in reply to an American journalist.

He further revealed that he didn’t try to convince Trump to buy crude from Nigeria, even as he did not raise questions about the policy of the Trump administration not to police the world.

On his part, Trump, who described Nigeria as one of the most beautiful countries in the world, revealed that he didn’t discuss the statement with his Nigerian counterpart.  According to him Buhari knows where he stands in terms of his opinion on Nigeria, even as maintained that there are countries in the world where life is tough and difficult.


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