President Muhammadu Buhari departs Nigeria Sunday for bilateral talks with his United States counterpart Barack Obama.
The visit is however coming against the backdrop of frosty relations between the authorities in the U.S. and Nigeria’s Ambassador Mr. Ade Adefuye.
In a speech in November last year, while receiving a delegation of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, the Nigerian Ambassador to the United States Adefuye said both the Nigerian people and the government felt abandoned by America.
“I am sad to inform you that the Nigerian leadership: military and political, and even the general populace, are not satisfied with the scope, nature and content of the United States’ support for us in our struggle against terrorists,” he had said.
“We find it difficult to understand how and why in spite of the U.S. presence in Nigeria with their sophisticated military technology, Boko Haram should be expanding and becoming more deadly”.
About two weeks ago Nigeria recalled about 27 non-career ambassadors and ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary on tour of duty abroad.
They were given August 6 deadline to wind up their activities and return to the country.
There are also about 60 career officers who have completed their tour of duty and are expected to return to the country soon.
A source familiar with what led to the recall of the ambassadors told Daily Trust that it was triggered by the United States’ discomfort with Ambassador Adefuye’s recent “undiplomatic conduct.”
The source said Adefuye adopted a belligerent tone in Nigeria’s bilateral relations with the US in the twilight of the Jonathan administration especially in relation to the Boko Haram insurgency.
The source said that the Americans were not comfortable with him being involved in President Muhammadu Buhari’s next week’s visit to Washington.
Daily Trust learnt that another Nigerian diplomat and deputy representative at the United Nations mission in New York is expected to lead the diplomatic representation during the visit.
It was learnt that this is going to be so because Buhari’s visit is coming when there is no cabinet level representation from the ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Contacted on the matter, Spokesman, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ode Ogbole said “I don’t know anything about that. We can’t react to what we don’t know. I will find out tomorrow.”