President Trump made a forceful demand for increased importation of American food. This is problematic at a time in which the policy thrust of the Nigerian government is the development of self-sufficiency and it’s my hope that this demand would be rejected. This is important because the United States is determined to impose GMO food on the rest of the world with all the associated dangers of the policy.


On Monday, President Buhari visited the American President Donald Trump and there is some relief that the visit concluded without any major incident. Coming soon after the much-castigated comments by Muhammadu Buhari about the Nigerian youth, people were looking for another faux pas or de-marketing of Nigeria. Maybe the president’s minders are doing a better job of protecting him from the people, as apparently there was no meeting with the Nigerian community or other public events. President Buhari is the first sub-Saharan African leader to have an Oval Office visit with President Trump and this is not surprising, given the importance and place of Nigeria in Africa. The two leaders had extensive discussions.

As expected, there was a lot of discussion on countering violent extremism. It would be recalled that the American government had approved a $593 million foreign military sale to Nigeria, including 12 A-29 Super Tucano light-attack aircraft, in order to further the nation’s military campaign against Boko Haram. Nigeria has been seeking permission from the U.S. government to buy the aircraft since 2015 but the Obama administration had put the sale on hold due to concerns about the country’s human rights record. In February, President Donald Trump signaled his support for the sale during a phone call with President Muhammadu Buhari. Nigeria has since pad for the aircraft, although the National Assembly is furious because the payment was done without appropriation.

President Trump praised Buhari’s efforts in the war against corruption and this must have been pleasing to our president who has been under significant criticism at home for the ineffectiveness of his anti-corruption strategy and the rising voices on corrupt activities by some of his close aides. In some of his recent statements justifying his decision to contest for a second term, the president has argued that another tenure would be an opportunity to engage in a more efficacious second round struggle against corruption. This is tough terrain for the president as his fifteen-year engagement in partisan politics has always been presented as an anti-corruption programme that would be successful if and when he gets into power.

President Trump made a forceful demand for increased importation of American food. This is problematic at a time in which the policy thrust of the Nigerian government is the development of self-sufficiency and it’s my hope that this demand would be rejected. This is important because the United States is determined to impose GMO food on the rest of the world with all the associated dangers of the policy. The American promise to return $500 million dollars of our stolen money is however welcome and should be pursued with vigour.

The reality that the combined effects of competition for land and water, crime, and poorly informed media speculations have resulted in a cycle of conflict with mass casualties suffered by both farmer and herder communities, as well as Muslim and Christian communities, has simply been ignored.


Another issue that President Trump raised pertained to the murder of Christians in Nigeria, which he said they would not tolerate. There have been concerted narratives articulated for some time that Christians are being targeted for annihilation in the country. The fact that Muslims are also being killed on a daily basis is a reality that the Nigerian media has been relatively successful in masking. Specifically, Trump warned that his country would no longer accept the further murder of Christians in Nigeria by herdsmen and other Islamic extremists and terrorists. He sad that: “We have had very serious problems with Christians who are being murdered in Nigeria, we are going to be working on that problem very, very hard because we cannot allow that to happen.” During the visit, a prominent U.S. group, Open Doors USA, had through its the President/CEO, David Curry, published in America’s most widely circulated print newspaper, USA Today and later by The Atlantic Post, an article arguing that the protection of Christians in Nigeria can only be achieved by an international coalition. We are told that: “Buhari’s Fulani kin are responsible for hundreds of deaths already in 2018, attacking villages and forcing thousands of people to flee their homes and land. The scale of the Fulani aggression threatens to surpass Boko Haram’s reign of terror, based on the sheer number of deaths.”

In September last year, I attended a Human Rights Commission public hearing in Congress jointly led by Congressmen Randy Hultgren and James McGovern in Washington D.C. on Nigeria. The topic was violent conflict between “Muslim cattle rearing herders and Christian farmers in the Middle Belt”. The labelling of Muslim herders versus Christian farmers has been an effective way of misconstruing generalised mass killing in Nigeria to a pogrom against Christians.

During the hearing, one Dr. Elijah Brown, executive director of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative told the Commission that there is an insidious campaign by “Muslim Fulani militants” to kill Christian farmers in the Middle Belt, drive them out of their ancestral lands, rename the seized territory with Fulani names and use the office of the governor to transfer the lands to Fulani ownership. This is the type of framing that influenced the comments of Trump. The fact that “Muslim-Muslim” killings related to the same herder-farmer conflicts in Zamfara State has been higher that “Muslim-Christian” killings in States such as Benue have fallen on deaf ears. The reality that the combined effects of competition for land and water, crime, and poorly informed media speculations have resulted in a cycle of conflict with mass casualties suffered by both farmer and herder communities, as well as Muslim and Christian communities, has simply been ignored.

foraminifera

Codeine and the Drug Epidemic in Nigeria

I would like to thank Dr. Mairo Mandara, who has been a true leader in the campaign to rid our society of the menace of drugs. As she has been emphasising, the ban is only a first step and our governments, civil society, religious and community leaders all have a huge role to play in rescuing our youth from drug addiction.


This week, the federal government finally banned the importation and distribution of cough syrup with codeine. The ban occurred less than 24 hours after the release of a BBC documentary on the issue. It’s great that this first step has been taken, but the fact of the matter however is that a major campaign had been on-going by Nigerian advocates over the past two years calling for the ban. It’s unfortunate that the Nigerian government only listens when the outside world speaks. I would like to thank Dr. Mairo Mandara, who has been a true leader in the campaign to rid our society of the menace of drugs. As she has been emphasising, the ban is only a first step and our governments, civil society, religious and community leaders all have a huge role to play in rescuing our youth from drug addiction.

A professor of Political Science and development consultant/expert, Jibrin Ibrahim is a Senior Fellow of the Centre for Democracy and Development, and Chair of the Editorial Board of PREMIUM TIMES.