Obama praises Nigerian president

Washington:¬†US President Barack Obama praised the “reputation for integrity” of Nigeria’s new president Muhammadu Buhari, saying he made a “clear” commitment to fighting the Islamist Boko Haram terrorist group, media reported on Tuesday.

In brief remarks before their meeting, Obama called Buhari’s election victory in late March an “historic” milestone for Africa’s most populous nation.

The president also praised Buhari for working to bring “safety, security and peace” to his nation, which is facing severe economic strains, has a history of corruption and is beset by violence perpetrated by the insurgency mounted by the Islamic extremist group.

Buhari won the March 28 election comfortably, a vote that was held six weeks behind schedule as a result of the previous government’s decision to prioritize the fight against Boko Haram, which controlled large portions of the country.

Buhari, 72, headed the country between 1983 and 1985 after a coup d’etat, but since then he has committed himself to democratic values.

Last week, Buhari dismissed all the top military commanders, whom he accused of corruption, saying that it had prevented the Nigerian armed forces from effectively fighting Boko Haram.

More than 13,000 people have died so far during the insurgency and some 1.5 million have been displaced.