Hakeem Balogun, Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of Nigeria, Washington, has described the relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. as “very warm”.
Balogun told the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the relationship had improved greatly since Muhammadu Buhari became president.
According to him, the Nigeria-U.S. relationship was not too good prior to the inauguration of Buhari as president.
“The relationship is quite good. It’s been very warm and lovely ever since the coming of this administration.
“Prior to President Buhari’s ascendancy, the relationship was sort of lukewarm following the American’s complaints over Nigeria’s handling of security issues, human rights, allegations, issues of corruption, issues of governance.
“These are issues which the present government has come in to make the focal point of its administration. And no doubt, even since then, our relationship has been very robust.
“Our relationship has entered on the fulcrum of the Bi-National Commission and based on that, it has formed the bedrock of our relationship.
“The bi-national commission is the foundation, the basis of the relationship between both countries.
“Well within the bedrock of that bi-national commission, are issues of good governance, corruption, security and what others, which formed the basis of our relationship with the United States.”
On Corruption, Balogun, who is Nigeria’s acting Ambassador at U.S., said the U.S. was quite impressed with how far Nigeria had gone in the fight against corruption under Buhari.
“They (U.S.) really have this belief that the person of Mr President was okay to handle the issue of corruption in Nigeria and that he’s been doing well.
“I was in a meeting where former President Barack Obama publicly acclaimed this that they were quite satisfied with the way we were handling corruption issues.
“And he’s open to us to see what the government was doing regarding corrupt practices, either in governance or in the society at large.
“So I can definitely tell you that the United States is pleased with what we’ve been doing at that level; ditto the efforts to revive the economy.
“You know this issue of corruption is a global thing; it is worldwide and we have to share best practices.
“How we fight against the terrorism is something that is really being a focal point for the government of the United States,” he said.
The Nigeria envoy pointed out that Nigeria’s strategy in the fight against Boko Haram was commended and recommended by the meeting of the Global Coalition Working to Defeat ISIS hosted by U.S. within the week.
“That (Nigeria’s strategy) was part of the outcomes of the conference, where the coalition of countries fighting against terrorism, about 68 of them, met.
“There were only four of us from Africa, where we also talked about how best to share information, stop international terrorism financing and international weapons exchange across borders.
“Nigeria was singled out in our efforts to combat the Boko Haram menace and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson actually commended our delegation.
“Tillerson commended Nigeria for the efforts we’ve put in tackling global terrorism as it affects us,” he said.