Boko Haram: Buhari Meets Obama Tomorrow
Pres., V.P’s Assets For Release After Verification By CCB
LEADERS of top world economies, including US President Barack Obama, are already looking forward to sitting down with President Muhammadu Buhari for talks tomorrow in Germany at the G-7 summit.
It would be the first meeting between Buhari and leaders of mostly Western nations, since he took office. The invitation from the G-7 leaders of the US, UK, Germany, France, Russia, Canada, Italy and Japan is indicative of the current international goodwill the nation attracted after the successful conduct of the 2015 presidential polls and the smooth handover of power by immediate past President Jonathan.
White House officials have now released details of the forthcoming meeting between the G-7 leaders and Buhari, including the main focus of the talks being the issue of terrorism.
While the G-7 summit opens today, the leaders will be meeting Buhari tomorrow. Meanwhile, bowing to public demand for the full disclosure of the contents of their asset declaration forms, President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have indicated that they would release the details of their declarations after verification by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), the Presidency has said.
Buhari said the release would be in fulfillment of one of their campaign promises, in which his declared assets and those of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will be released to the public upon the completion of their verification by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
The private declarations of assets by the two leaders has drawn flaks from across sections of Nigerians who demanded full disclosure of the contents of the asset forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau.
Their position was hinged on the principles of zero tolerance for corruption as espoused by Buhari before his election on March 28.
The Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity), Mal. Garba Shehu, who announced this in a statement on behalf of the President, yesterday, said: “The duly completed forms by both the President and the Vice President were submitted to the CCB on March 28, a clear day ahead of their inauguration.”
He said this statement was warranted by the need to clarify some suggestions that the President and the Vice-President may not, after all, declare their assets publicly.
He said: “While such public display of concern is appreciated and valued, it must be said that it is a little precipitate.
“As required by law, the declaration and submission of documents to the CCB have been made, but there still remains the aspect of verification, which the Bureau will have to conduct to authenticate the submissions made to it.
It is hoped that this process will be completed before the expiry of the 100-day deadline within which they said they would do this.
“In the circumstances, it is only after this verification exercise, and not before, that the declaration can be said to have been made and validated; and only after this, will the details be released to the public.
“There is no question at all that the President and the Vice President are committed to public declaration of their assets within the 100 days that they pledged during the presidential campaign.
“The President and the Vice President wish to thank Nigerians for their show of concern, and for the confidence they have shown in their leaders’ integrity, as evidenced by the high pedestal of uprightness and expectations on which they have placed them.”
Meanwhile, at a Thursday phone conference press briefing on the G-7 summit from Washington DC, White House officials disclosed that the Monday meeting with Buhari and a few other leaders from Iraq and Tunisia would be the third working session for the G-7 leaders.
According to US Deputy National Security Adviser on Global Engagement and Strategic Communications, Ben Rhodes, “There will be a working session on terrorism, where the leaders will be joined by, among others, Prime Minister Abadi of Iraq, the new President of Nigeria, Buhari, and the Tunisian President.”
Rhodes noted: “It’s also important that President Buhari of Nigeria is there. Nigeria recently just had the first truly democratic transition in its history.
Notably, there’s also been very significant progress made against Boko Haram in recent months, substantially shrinking the territory in which Boko Haram operates in Nigeria. That’s due to the efforts of the Nigerian security forces, but also several of Nigeria’s neighbors.”
He explained that the meeting, therefore, for the US President in particular, will be “an opportunity to sit down with this new President and discuss ways in which we can try to keep Boko Haram on the defensive, and support their security efforts to deal with a scourge of terrorism that has confronted the Nigerian people, but also the people of that region.”
President Buhari who has prioritised the issue of the insurgency in the northeastern part of the country is also believed to be planning on taking full advantage of the meeting with the G-7 leaders in Krun, Germany.
Late last year, there was a rupture in the relationship between the US and Nigeria when a military training offered by the Americans was cancelled on the preference of the Nigerian military.
Also, the US government overruled a plan by Israel to sell Cobra military helicopters to Nigeria in its fight against Boko Haram, further fueling the diplomatic tension between both countries on the issue of fighting terrorism.
Informed sources from both the US and Nigeria governments, however, have indicated a new beginning in the diplomatic relationships with the emergence of a new President, creating a new opportunity for Western nations, especially the US, to help Nigeria fight the Boko Haram group more effectively.
The meeting in Germany tomorrow promises to live up to that expectation of additional and strategic support from the US in particular to Nigeria in the terror war. While the G-7 leaders are prioritising their meeting with President Buhari on terrorism, they will also on Monday be discussing other issues with African leaders.