US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday at State House Abuja saying Nigeria’s removal from the watchlist of countries violating religious freedom, was based on facts.
He however expressed the hope that necessary reforms would be made to end police brutality in the country based on the recent report of the EndSARS probe panel commissioned by the Lagos State government.
President Buhari in reply promised to allow other states which had set up probe panels to make their own pronouncements on the subject.
It’s the first visit of Anthony Blinken, the US top diplomat, to Africa Mr Blinken is hoping to sell U.S. President Joe Biden’s “America’s back” mantra to African leaders in the course of a five-day trip.
The message to Nigeria is clear especially as the visit coincides with the submission of a report on ENDSARS by the investigative panel set up by the Lagos State government
Mr Blinken is not shying away from his country’s own share of police brutality but is hoping some reforms will be made.
President Buhari has not given a clearcut commitment as to police reforms, rather he says the Federal Government will wait for pronouncements from state governments which set up panels to probe police brutality in the country.
But he is very clear about Security and is insisting that a lot of progress has been made in the fight against terrorists since 2015
Both leaders are also on the same page on the urgent need to limit the impact of climate change.
This visit by the US top diplomat is extremely important after four years of the Trump administration largely ignoring or insulting Africans.
The Biden administration will try, with this visit as a start off, to sell the picture of a reinvigorated U.S. relationship with countries across Africa.