The United States on Tuesday hinted on the
reasons why President Barack Obama won't
visit Nigeria during his upcoming three-nation
trip to Africa.
According to US officials, the ongoing
insecurity appeared to be responsible for the
exclusion of Nigeria in Obama's second visit
to the continent.
Obama is scheduled to visit Senegal,
Tanzania and South Africa.
The US government said the trip would focus
on trade and investment, democratic
institution-building, young people, and
enhancing economic growth.
American Deputy National Security Advisor,
Ben Rhodes, made this clarifications at a
briefing on Tuesday.
The briefing was addressed jointly with the
Senior Director for African Affairs Grant Harris
and Senior Director for Development and
Democracy Gayle Smith, on Obama's
The text of the briefing was made available
to journalists in Abuja by the Information
Office of the Public Affairs Section of the US
Rhodes said, "With respect to Nigeria, we
certainly believe that Nigeria is a
fundamentally important country to the future
of Africa. We've put a lot of investment in the
relationship with Nigeria through their
leadership of ECOWAS, through the
significant US business investment in Nigeria
and through our security cooperation.
"Obviously, Nigeria is working through some
very challenging security issues right now.
And in that process, they're going to be a
partner of the United States. We certainly
believe we'll have an opportunity to further
engage the Nigerian government through
bilateral meetings going forward. But at this
point, we just were not able to make it to
Nigeria on this particular itinerary.
"I will say that we purposefully designed the
itineraries to be able to reach West Africa,
South Africa and East Africa, and in West
Africa, to visit Senegal, a French-speaking,
Muslim-majority democracy that is an
important partner of the United States and
also provides a platform for the President to
speak to the broader region.
"We are also looking at ways, at the
President's town hall in South Africa with
young African leaders, to draw in through
technology young people in Nigeria and in
Kenya, among other places, so that the
President is using this trip to speak to the
broader African audience. We recognize
we'd like to go to as many countries as