The United States Embassy in Abuja has refused to respond officially to a report in the Financial Times of London, where US President, Donald Trump was alleged to have described Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari as not only being ailing but also lifeless.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs as at the time of filing this report, kept mum over since the news broke.
The FT while reporting the planned meeting between Trump and his Kenya’s counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta billed for last Monday, claimed that Trump after meeting with Buhari last April, the first with any African leader told his aides, “he never wanted to meet someone so lifeless again”.
The Monday meeting which according to the report is part of efforts by the Trump administration to foster stronger ties with Africa is hoped would end US neglect of the continent.
Already, the White House said Uhuru Kenyatta’s Kenya was one of closest US security and trade partners in Africa.
“Donald Trump will welcome Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta to the White House on Monday for what will be only the second one-on-one meeting the US president has held with a sub-Saharan African leader since he took office last year.
“The first meeting, with Nigeria’s ailing 75-year-old Muhammadu Buhari in April, ended with the US president telling aides he never wanted to meet someone so lifeless again, according to three people familiar with the matter”, part of the report claimed.
However, when contacted, officials of the embassy declined comments on the issue. Calls to the spokesperson at the embassy, Russell Brooks, were not answered and another staff at the embassy who pleaded anonymity refused to also say anything.
On the Kenya’s President visit, the report said advocates of closer US-Africa ties hope the encounter with the much younger Kenyatta, 56, “will breathe fresh life into a relationship with a region that Washington is seen to have neglected as other countries, notably China, develop ever-closer trade and investment ties with the continent”.
Adding that, “Africa has never been high on his radar but if the big guy likes you he’ll find a way to make things work.”
Trump is widely criticised for not having an Africa policy. So it’s in his interest to have something from [meeting Kenyatta] he can present as a win.