Remarks by President Trump and President Buhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Before Bilateral Meeting

U.S. President Trump meets with Nigeria's President Buhari at the White House in Washington

Oval Office

12:09 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  It’s an honor to be with President Buhari of Nigeria.  We have many things that we do together, as you know, probably — especially on terrorism and terrorism-related.

We also have a very big trade deal that we’re working on for military equipment — helicopters and the like.  We have met before.  We have developed a great relationship.  And we look forward to our discussion today — very important — but again, especially as it relates to terrorism.  And that’s terrorism here and terrorism all over the world.  It’s a hotbed, and we’re going to be stopping that.

Also, we’ve had very serious problems with Christians who have been murdered, killed in Nigeria.  We’re going to be working on that problem, and working on that problem very, very hard, because we can’t allow that to happen.

Mr. President, thank you very much for being here.  Thank you.

PRESIDENT BUHARI:  Thank you, Mr. President, very much for inviting me.  It’s a great honor.  I’m very grateful for it.

Sadly, security is the main issue.  We very grateful to the United States for agreeing to give us the aircraft we asked for — the spare parts.  We are even more grateful for the physical presence of the United States military (inaudible) that are going to our institutions in Nigeria, and train them and go to the front, in the northeast, to see how they are performing, as an example of the training given to them.

So the commitment of the United States to get rid of terrorism across the world, we have firsthand experience of that, and we are very grateful for it.

The problem about the (inaudible) and jihadists in Nigeria is a very long, historical thing.  But the state is most concerned — they know that the Nigerian jihadists never carry anything more than a stick, and occasionally a machete, to cut down foliage and give it to the (inaudible) and carrying AK-47s.

So I don’t think people should underrate what happened in Libya: Forty-three years of Qaddafi.  People were recruited from the Sahel; they were caught — and nothing other than shoot and killed.

With the demise of Qaddafi, they moved to their countries, into their regions, and they carried away with them the only experience they have — trained using weapons.  And that’s what is aggravating the situation.

We are doing our best to make sure we have stopped the cross-border and so on, and — to get the weapons from the (inaudible) and weapons in the region checked.  But it’s going to take time, and the action by the United States in trying to see the end of ISIS has helped us a lot.  Because Boko Haram in Nigeria at one time made a statement that they are loyal to ISIS.

Now that ISIS have virtually gone with the help of the United States, we are very grateful for that.  And we are sure that we are still (inaudible) the situation and the security in Nigeria.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  We have very much decimated ISIS.  Much has taken place over the last 12 months.  But Boko Haram has been terrible.  And how did you do with the young women that were kidnapped?  How is that going?

PRESIDENT BUHARI:  The Chibok girls and the Dapchi one — the Chibok one was before we came — 2014.  But only a number of them — we recovered about 80 of them.  But the Dapchi one, there were 106 that were kidnapped.  We got 100 back.  Four died; one is still held in captivity.  And we are very grateful to the United Nations organization that is acting as (inaudible) between us and the kidnappers.  And we haven’t given up.  We are trying to get everybody back to join their families and their schools.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  A terrible problem.  Mr. President, thank you very much, everybody.

PRESIDENT BUHARI:  Thank you very much.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much everybody.

Q    Are you working on a deal on immigration?



12:15 P.M. EDT