President Muhammadu Buhari has denied accusing the United States of supporting Boko Haram by refusing to sell arms to Nigeria.
Mr. Buhari had remarked during his visit to Washington this week, that America’s enforcement of the Leahy Law, which prohibits its government from supplying weapons to any country accused of human rights abuses, was in a way “aiding and abetting” Boko Haram.
The comments have been widely reported in local and foreign media.
In a statement Friday, the Nigerian presidency said the “persisting” reports are “untrue and widely off the mark”.
Full statement by presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina:
Persisting claims in the local and international media that President Muhammadu Buhari has accused or indicted the United States Government of helping the terrorist group, Boko Haram are untrue and widely off mark.
Reports to that effect are an unfortunate misinterpretation and distortion of the President’s remarks at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) during his highly successful official visit to Washington DC.
Indeed, President Buhari made it abundantly clear in those remarks, copies of which were circulated to the media, that he was convinced that the United States could never support groups such as Boko Haram.
“I know the American people cannot support any group engaged in these crimes,” the President clearly stated.
The regrets expressed by President Buhari at USIP about the impact of the application of the Leahy Law on Nigeria’s war against Boko Haram and terrorism cannot be construed as an indictment of President Barack Obama and the United States Government who have publicly and privately declared their preparedness to give the Buhari Administration the fullest possible support and assistance.
Within the context in which they were made, President Buhari’s comments on the adverse effect of the Leahy Law on Nigeria’s efforts to contain Boko Haram’s atrocious acts of terrorism should only be taken as a passionate appeal for even greater understanding and support from a very powerful and longstanding ally.
President Buhari has nothing but the highest possible regard for President Obama, the United States Government, the people of the United States, their laws and institutions.
The President had very successful and useful talks with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, other high-ranking US government officials and members of United States Congress during his visit to Washington DC.
It is his expectation that those talks will lead to better mutual understanding and a further deepening of bilateral relations between Nigeria and the United States, especially in Nigeria’s current priority areas of defence and security cooperation.