While the Trump administration has done little to give any indication that Africa is of importance to its agenda the one issue where Trump and Buhari will see eye to eye will be on security. The Trump administration’s only actions on Africa have typically been related to security matters. Buhari’s own agenda has had to bring security to the fore as the country faces several key security challenges including the herdsmen attacks and Boko Haram terrorists.

Matthew Page, a Chatham House fellow and former US State Department official, says “Buhari’s ‘stoop-to-conquer’ diplomacy was painful and disillusioning to watch.” But one possible reason for it is that talks with the Trump administration are crucial to winning support as Nigeria continues to battle a deadly insurgency against Boko Haram in the northeast. In addition to accessing military equipment which the army has solely lacked, Buhari has also appealed for humanitarian assistance for internally displaced persons as well as aid for the reconstruction of swathes of devastated towns in the northeast.

Indeed, the United States has already approved the sale of half a billion dollars worth of military ware, including fighter jets, to Nigeria. That’s a change in tack from the Obama administration which did not sell some weapons to Nigeria citing alleged human rights abuses by the Nigerian army including arbitrarily detaining and killing civilians. Page says Buhari’s “ring-kissing” could also be strategic for another reason: ” Trump is popular among many Nigerians and his praise could help Buhari’s re-election prospects.”

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