The United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has changed his schedule so that he will spend only a few hours in Nigeria before leaving late Monday evening to Washington DC.
A spokesman for the top U.S. diplomat said Tillerson had cut short his first trip to Africa to return to Washington about one day ahead of schedule to deal with urgent work there.
“Tillerson’s travel plans have changed so that he can return to Washington early on Tuesday morning instead of late that night,” the spokesman told reporters travelling with him.
The secretary departed the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Monday morning.
He will visit Chad and Nigeria, both oil-producers struggling to contain the Islamist Boko Haram insurgency, on Monday afternoon and evening.
He was billed to spend Monday night in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, before flying back to Washington.
On Saturday while visiting Nairobi, Tillerson, 65, cancelled his scheduled events because he had been feeling unwell.
Tillerson’s week-long, five-country visit to Africa came amid other urgent foreign policy developments, including Thursday’s announcement that U.S. President Donald Trump will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported Tillerson’s visit to the Horn of Africa just days after he announced a new $533 million aid package for Africa out of which $128 million was earmarked for Nigeria and countries of the Lake Chad region.
When Tillerson meets Buhari, both men are expected to discuss counter-terrorism efforts and humanitarian issues in Nigeria’s North-east and the Lake Chad basin.
He is also expected to discuss how to advance peace and security, promote good governance, and spur mutually beneficial trade and investment with the president.
During his trip, he is expected also to meet with the U.S. Embassy personnel and participate in events related to U.S. government-supported activities.