US Secretary of State Blinken meets Buhari in Aso Villa

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja on Thursday.

Blinken arrived at the Presidential Villa just before 4 pm. He was received at the forecourt by the state chief of protocol, Lawal Kazaure, who led him to the president’s office.

The US diplomat is on a three-nation tour of Africa and had first visited Kenya where he called for African-driven solutions to the continent’s crises including the spiralling war in Ethiopia — where Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo has been leading mediation. He will also be in Senegal.

Blinken held talks with Buhari which is believed to be centred around security.

He met Vice President Yemi Osinbajo where he signed some agreements between the US and Nigeria.

Blinken’s visit comes on the heels of Nigeria’s removal from a US blacklist of nations that violate religious freedom.

Blinken’s predecessor Mike Pompeo, who did not visit Nigeria, made the decision late in his term.

The top US diplomat would discuss human rights in Nigeria and meet civil society groups following confirmation by the Lagos State judicial panel of inquiry that security forces shot at #EndSARS protesters at Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020.