President Muhammadu Buhari clarified Friday that regrets expressed by him about the drawback the Leahy Law was impacting on Nigeria’s war against the Boko Haram terror group did not in any way amount to indictment of President Barack Obama and the United States government.
He was reacting to reports in the media suggesting that he had indicted the American government of aiding and abetting the terror group in Nigeria during his speech at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on Wednesday.
Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President said the claim which seemed to be persisting in both local and international media that he indicted the U.S government was “untrue and widely off mark.
“Reports to that effect are an unfortunate misinterpretation and distortion of the President’s remarks at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) during his highly successful official visit to Washington DC”, Adesina noted in a statement on Friday.
Noting that Obama and the U.S government have publicly and privately declared their preparedness to give him the fullest possible support and assistance, Buhari explained that he had made it abundantly clear in his remarks at USIP that he was convinced that the United States could never support groups such as Boko Haram.
“I know the American people cannot support any group engaged in these crimes”, Adesina quoted the President as clearly stating, even as he clarified that the “regrets expressed by President Buhari at USIP about the impact of the application of the Leahy Law on Nigeria’s war against Boko Haram and terrorism cannot be construed as an indictment of President Barack Obama and the United States government.
“Within the context in which they were made, President Buhari’s comments on the adverse effect of the Leahy Law on Nigeria’s efforts to contain Boko Haram’s atrocious acts of terrorism should only be taken as a passionate appeal for even greater understanding and support from a very powerful and longstanding ally”, he added.
Adesina further noted that President Buhari “has nothing but the highest possible regard for President Obama, the United States government, the people of the United States, their laws and institutions”.
He said Buhari had very successful and useful talks with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, other high-ranking US government officials and members of United States Congress during his visit to Washington DC.
“It is his expectation that those talks will lead to better mutual understanding and a further deepening of bilateral relations between Nigeria and the United States, especially in Nigeria’s current priority areas of defence and security cooperation”, the statement noted.