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President Barack Obama gave his support to Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari on Monday for his fight against the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.

According to the BBC, the two came face-to-face at the Oval Office for the first time since Buhari’s electoral win in March. Obama told reporters Buhari’s clear agenda will more than likely bring peace, security, and safety to the people of north-east Nigeria. Since 2009, the area has been plagued with violence carried out by the militant group, including last year’s kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls.

“[Buhari has] a very clear agenda in defeating Boko Haram and extremists of all sorts inside of his country,” Obama said. “And he has a very clear agenda in terms of rooting out the corruption that too often has held back the economic growth and prosperity of his country.”

First Lady Michelle Obama helped spread awareness about the tragedy with the social media initiative, #BringBackOurGirls. The U.S. also sent surveillance flights over Nigeria to help locate the girls, but conflict with former President Goodluck Jonathan caused the United States to take a step back in its efforts.

Jonathan, furious over the country’s refusal to sell government helicopter gunships to him, stalled a U.S. military training program. He was also accused of corruption and several human rights violations by the Nigerian military.

At this point, Obama hasn’t promised the new leader military assistance.

Buhari thanked Obama for his kind words and said he believes the new relationship can help reduce dissatisfaction in the country.

“Our allies can provide much-needed military training and intelligence as our soldiers take the war effort to Boko Haram,” he said.

Buhari, a former military dictator, has changed its tone. Since winning the election, he fired the entire top echelon of the military. The 72-year-old has also come with slight criticism, however, for a delay in putting together his cabinet.



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President Obama Praises Nigerian Leader For Tackling Boko Haram  was originally published on