Federal Republic of Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan holding talks with US President Barack Obama. The Christmas 2011 bombings in Nigeria may provide greater openings for Pentagon intervention., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Why Obama can’t visit Nigeria, by U.S. Deputy NSA
Posted by: Yusuf Alli
Fresh facts emerged yesterday that security challenges facing the nation might have accounted for Nigeria’s exclusion from American President Barack Obama’s three-nation shuttle to Africa.
But the exclusion will not affect bilateral relations between the United States and Nigeria.
Obama said the trip would focus on trade and investment, democratic institution-building, young people and unleashing economic growth.
The clarifications were made at a joint briefing by American Deputy National Security Advisor, Mr Ben Rhodes.
The briefing was addressed jointly by the Senior Director for African Affairs, Grant Harris, and Senior Director for Development and Democracy, Gayle Smith, on President Obama’s upcoming visit to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.
The text of the briefing was made available to reporters yesterday in Abuja by the Information Office of the Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy.
Rhodes said: “With respect to Nigeria, we certainly believe that Nigeria is a fundamentally important country to the future of Africa. We’ve put a lot of investment in the relationship with Nigeria through their leadership of ECOWAS, through the significant U.S. business investment in Nigeria and through our security cooperation.
“Obviously, Nigeria is working through some very challenging security issues right now. And in that process, they’re going to be a partner of the United States. We certainly believe we’ll have an opportunity to further engage the Nigerian government through bilateral meetings going forward. But at this point, we just were not able to make it to Nigeria on this particular itinerary.
“I will say that we purposefully designed the itineraries to be able to reach West Africa, South Africa and East Africa, and in West Africa, to visit Senegal, a French-speaking, Muslim-majority democracy that is an important partner of the United States and provides a platform for the President to speak to the broader region.”