The Presidency was very upbeat on Sunday as President Muhammadu Buhari arrived in the United States of America ahead of his scheduled meeting with President Donald Trump.
The meeting, which is expected to centre on the fight against terrorism and economic development among others, holds today at the White House.
In an interview with journalists after arriving in Washington DC, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, noted that the relationship between the countries improved remarkably with the coming on board of Trump.
Shehu said the meeting of the two leaders was an indication that “Nigeria is a great country.”
“Buhari is the first African head of government to visit Trump’s White House and this is a pointer to two important things. One is, no matter how Nigerians take our own country, this is hugely an important country and this recognition is being manifested in this visit,” he said.
Shehu said issues affecting both countries would be discussed at the meeting with focus on security and safety, trade and investment as well as democratic development in Nigeria.
The presidential spokesman expressed delight that relationship between the two countries had improved compared to what was obtainable during the administration of former President Barack Obama.
He said, “It is important that cooperation between the two countries have manifestly increased under the Trump’s Presidency.
“If you recall sometime back, the President had reason to openly complain that we are not receiving as much as we thought we deserve in terms of support and cooperation especially in our fight against terrorism back then during the Obama period.
“And it will seem that quite dramatically and interestingly, a lot of the obstacles are being removed under the Trump’s Presidency and doors are being opened and we are receiving far more support than most people had expected.”
Some Nigerians based in the US had embarked on solidarity rally shortly after Buhari arrived the country.
Shehu described the rally as a pleasant development.
“It is a very pleasant development and this tells you that America is a totally different clime, there is a deep appreciation for the work President Buhari is doing for our country,” he said.
The Presidency had in a statement on Friday announced that the President would hold a bilateral meeting with Trump and a working lunch on Monday (today).
According to the statement, the meeting between the two leaders would discuss ways to enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries and to advance shared priorities, such as promoting economic growth, fighting terrorism and other threats to peace and security.