From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs came at the weekend confirmation that President Muhammadu Buhari will visit United States to meet with President Barack Obama on July 20, 2015.
The visit is coming barely a week after the US Supreme Court legalised same sex marriage in all states of America.
Briefing the press in Abuja on Saturday, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bulus Lolo, said the President Buhari’s visit to U.S. would provide an avenue to discuss political, economic and other issues of mutual benefit to both countries, contrary to speculations that the meeting may be used by Obama to put pressure on Buhari to reverse the anti-gay marriage law passed by the National Assembly and assented to by former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Lolo said: “A statement has been made to the effect that the President will be in Washington for a meeting with Barack Obama on July 20, and I am affirming here that an invitation has been extended and President Buhari has accepted. Suffice me to say that it is true, he is going .
“But the notice for the visit, let me make it clear that no nation can exist as an Ireland to itself. You do not hesitate to accept invitation simply because you must address certain issues at a time when you have a window to engage. So, he is going to Washington this month to meet with President Barack Obama. It is not expression or romance. It is due to the quality of relationship between Nigeria and America that so soon after assuming office, there is the willingness to engage Nigeria .
“There is opportunities in the visit because Mr. President will use that occasion to once again state what his vision is for the country. And he will not just take this to a small crowd. The U.S. audience is a very large one. President Buhari will have that opportunity to meet not only with the government but the private sector operators. These are the occasions when countries are able to mobilize support and market the product successfully.
“And so going out to Washington should be seen as an opportunity for Nigeria to enter the biggest market and get one of the best up there that one can wish to have. I see it beyond romance but a chrystalisation of a relationship that is strong and mutually beneficial to the people of Nigeria and America.”
On the outcome of the President’s visit to G7 meeting, Lolo said: “The G7 have promised to support the government. They requested our President to draw up his list of requirements and priorities and submit to them for consideration.
“We have every hope that with the momentum of opportunities we have, we will remain engaged with our partners, including the G7.”
On Buhari visits to Chad and Niger, the permanent secretary affirmed that it was part of efforts to end the insurgency in the northern part of the country. “The President’s visits to the two countries gave him opportunities to have fruitful discussions with his counterparts on security issues, the areas of cooperation and what must be done. It has come true to all that the fight against Boko Haram will not be tackled only by military action, but by addressing the fundamental root causes of insurgency.
We then can find a lasting solution to the problem. And so, the government of these countries have agreed to take military options, alongside economic, social and other supportive measures that will also bring succour to the people,” he said. “For us to win the battle against Boko Haram, we must remain engaged and work with others and because we have that opportunity so we can look at the future with hope, “ Lolo added.


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