President Barack Obama recently welcomed Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to the White House where they discussed, among other issues, how best to fight and defeat the terrorist group Boko Haram.
President Buhari “is very concerned about the spread of Boko Haram and the violence that’s taken place there, and the atrocities that they’ve carried out,” said President Obama, “and has a very clear agenda in defeating Boko Haram and extremists of all sorts inside of his country.”
July has been a particularly bloody month in Nigeria. Two deadly attacks in Jos, a city in central Nigeria, killed at least 44 people. Gunmen and suicide bombers struck a restaurant and a mosque filled with worshippers. So far the death toll in July from Boko Haram attacks is over 200.
In response to the growing threat, President Buhari has taken steps to better fight Boko Haram. He has moved the anti-Boko Haram military headquarters to Borno State, where Boko Haram is strongest, and is coordinating Nigeria’s effort more closely with those of its neighbors Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.
In addition to anti-terrorism strategies, the U.S. is interested in partnering with Nigeria on rooting out corruption, which has undermined Nigeria’s economic development. Both leaders also discussed health issues, including fighting epidemics like Ebola. Nigeria has a good track record working with the United States to eradicate polio, and that provides a template to continue to work on public health issues throughout the western part of Africa, as well as throughout the subcontinent.
Climate change and electrification were also on the agenda. “Power Africa,” said President Obama, “is one of our top priorities, making sure that we’re electrifying the continent so that it can grow faster and more people have access to the power that they need.”
The United States will do everything it can to help President Buhari succeed and help the people of Nigeria succeed. Because if they’re successful and doing well, that will have a ripple effect not only in West Africa, but throughout the world.