Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari’s announcement to visit some troubled States in the country, particularly in the North is not unconnected to the visit of Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State to Nigeria, BigPen Online can report.
U.S. Department of State had announced that Rex Tillerson would visit Nigeria and four other African countries from March 6 to 13, 2018.
Mr. Buhari have been criticised nationally and internationally for not doing enough to curtail insurgency, particular recent herdsmen killings in Benue, Taraba, Zamfara, Yobe and also Rivers states, which have recorded abductions and killings this year respectively.
Sources said that the U.S. Secretary of State, during his visit to Abuja, is expected to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and other top government functionaries, and in the meeting, Mr. Buhari is expected to speak on what his government have being doing to curtail insurgency in the Northeast as well as Fulani herdsmen killings.
BigPen Online recalls that Mr. Buhari was strongly knocked over the weekend over his frolicking with some governors in Kano during the wedding of Fatima, daughter of Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano state and Idris, the son of Abiola Ajimobi, Oyo state governor in face of recent terrorist attacks.
A source at the Presidency disclosed that the sudden announcement of the visit by Mr. President to Yobe, Benue and three other troubled States was because they had diplomatic communication to the effect that the U.S. Secretary of State would visit Nigeria and one of the issues on the table is issue of Boko Haram and herdsmen killings.
“The statement released on Monday (today) was just hurriedly done because of the visit of U.S. Secretary of State. Definitely, Mr. President would be taken to task why he had not visited this states as the chief security officer and Commander of the Nigeria Armed Forces so they have to package his visit before that meeting. What has Mr. President being doing all this while not to have visited this states?. Is it now that he knows the recent terrorist attacks, criminal activities and communal clashes in some States leading to tragic loss of lives and kidnapping of 110 schoolgirls, matter, the source queried.
President Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina who announced the visit on Monday, March 5, explained, “in view of recent terrorist attacks, criminal activities and communal clashes in some States leading to tragic loss of lives and kidnapping of 110 schoolgirls, President Muhammadu Buhari immediately tasked the Armed Forces and other Security agencies to compile comprehensive reports on the various incidents,” it read.
According to him, “Having received and studied the Reports, the President has decided to undertake an on the spot assessment of the various occurrences and to meet and console the communities affected.
“From today, March 5, he will visit Taraba, and subsequently Benue, Yobe, Zamfara and Rivers States.
“President Buhari has been receiving daily briefings, and has been in constant touch with the Governors, and has been updated with situation reports.
“The president calls on all Nigerians especially those in the affected areas to cooperate fully with the security agencies to enable them curb the spate of crimes, bring those responsible to justice and prevent further occurrences,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, besides visiting Nigeria, Tillerson would also travel to Addis Ababa, Djibouti, Nairobi and N’Djamena, Spokesperson for the Department, Ms Heather Nauert said.
Nauert said: “On his first official trip to Africa, Secretary Rex Tillerson will travel to N’Djamena, Chad; Djibouti, Djibouti; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Nairobi, Kenya and Abuja, Nigeria, March 6-13, 2018.
“The U.S. Secretary o State will meet with leadership in each country, as well as the leadership of the African Union Commission based in Addis Ababa.
“This is to further our partnerships with the governments and people of Africa.
“In particular, he plans to discuss ways we can work with our partners to counter terrorism, advance peace and security, promote good governance, and spur mutually beneficial trade and investment.”
During his trip, Tillerson will also meet with the U.S. Embassy personnel and participate in events related to U.S. government-supported activities.
Written by Julius Eras-Olabowu