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Fact Check No, Buhari isn’t 1st African president to visit Trump at White House

A section of the press says Buhari is the 1st African president to be hosted by Donald Trump at the White House. That's factually incorrect.

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No, Buhari isn’t 1st African president to visit Trump at White House play Trump and Buhari meet on the sidelines of the UNGA (Twitter/NGRPresident)

There’s been a lot of back and forth on social media over whether President Muhammadu Buhari would be the first African leader to be hosted by US President Donald Trump in the White House.

The debate stems from press coverage of the visit and official statements from the Nigerian presidency.

For instance, the Associated Press writes that: “After more than a year in office, President Donald Trump for the first time is hosting an African president at the White House. The meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday comes after an uncomfortable start to the Trump administration’s approach to the world’s second most populous continent”.

Shugaba Buhari zai gana da Donal Trump na kasar Amurka a fadar White house play Buhari shakes hands with Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (CNN)

J. Peter Pham, Director of the Africa Center at the Washington-based Atlantic Council, told AFP that: "On President Trump's side, it's definitely putting that (shithole remark) controversy behind him.

"On President Buhari's side, it's having the prominence of being the first African leader received at the White House in this administration."

Senior Special to Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, issued a statement which contained the following words:

“Buhari is the first African head of government to visit Trump’s White House and this is a pointer to two important things. One is, no matter how Nigerians take our own country, this is hugely an important country and this recognition is being manifested in this visit”.

Not a first

While it makes for good bragging rights and hyperbolic storytelling to couch Buhari’s ongoing visit to the White House as a first, the truth is that it isn’t.

On April 3, 2017, Trump received Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at the White House. The visit was tailored to “reboot” a US/Egypt bilateral relationship that had been strained at times in the past.

As both leaders met inside the White House and shook hands, Trump said Sisi has "done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt. You have a great friend and ally in the United States, and in me.”


President Buhari is the second African head of government to be received at the White House by Trump. There, we just fixed it for everyone who has been running with that “first to be received” tale.

Buhari, Trump will discuss security, economy

Buhari’s bilateral meeting with Trump holds on April 30, 2018.

Trump and Buhari will discuss “ways to enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries and to advance shared priorities, such as: promoting economic growth, fighting terrorism and other threats to peace and security.

“The meeting will further deepen the US-Nigeria relationship, as the United States considers Nigeria’s economic growth, security and leadership in Africa to be critical aspects of their strategic partnership”, a statement from the Nigerian presidency read.

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