Abuja, 19 November 2021 (TDI): The United States Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, arrived in Nigeria yesterday as part of his first official tour to Sub-Saharan Africa.
While in Abuja, the US top diplomat commended the ‘increasingly deep’ cooperation between Nigeria and the United States. He met with various Nigerian officials, including President Muhammadu Buhari and Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama.
During a meeting with President Buhari, Blinken discussed the Covid-19 pandemic, domestic and regional security issues, climate change, and ways to strengthen the US-Nigerian bilateral relationship.
He also exhibited US support towards Nigeria’s renewable energy sector and ensured the delivery of around eight million Pfizer and Moderna vaccine doses to help Abuja tackle Covid-19.
Met with Nigerian President @MBuhari today to discuss climate, COVID-19, and deepening our relationship. I reaffirmed the strong partnership between the U.S. and Nigeria as well as the people-to-people ties that bind us. pic.twitter.com/AIiz05P2cW
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) November 19, 2021
In addition, the officials discussed the importance of enhancing democracy in West Africa, mainly through ensuring press and digital freedom, allowing dissent and peaceful protests, and promoting respect for human rights.
The US and Nigeria also signed a ‘Development Assistance Agreement’ worth $2.17 billion which aims to improvise the educational and health sectors in Nigeria. The agreement will also increase economic growth and energy access in the African state.
During a joint news conference with his Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama, Blinken stated that Biden’s administration exhibits immense support for human rights. According to the US State Secretary, making efforts to globally promote democratic principles is a fundamental part of Washington’s foreign policy.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama welcomed Blinken’s remarks and stated that the nation was delighted to have Washington’s support while tackling climate change and moving towards multilateralism.
Blinken’s official visit to Sub-Sharan Africa started in Kenya, where he called for a return to civilian democracy in Sudan after last month’s coup and appealed for an unconditional ceasefire, given the Ethiopian conflict.