Written by WASHINGTON (AFP)
US President Barack Obama will welcome newly sworn in Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to the White House on June 8, officials said Saturday.
Obama “looks forward to consulting with President Jonathan on the latest regional and global developments, and deepening our strong bilateral partnership,” his spokesman said in a statement.
Jonathan visits amid renewed tension in his country, after a series of blasts rocked Nigeria following his swearing-in last weekend, killing 18 people.
A southern Christian, Jonathan defeated ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from the north, in a April 16 poll that led to an explosion of rioting in Nigeria which killed more than 800 people.
In early May Obama commended Nigeria’s elections, where he said the majority of ballots were cast free from intimidation, signalling a strong future for democracy, but he slammed the post-poll unrest as “deplorable.”
Violence, he said, “has no place in a democratic society, and it is the responsibility of all Nigerians to reject it.”
Jonathan’s visit this week comes a day before Obama welcomes another west African leader, Gabon’s Ali Bongo, to the White House to discuss strategic regional and bilateral topics.