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Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del) Leads U.S. Congressional delegation to West Africa

Senator Coons (D-Delaware) and delegation conferring with Nigeria’s Vice President Osinbajo

West Africa ––US Senator Chris Coons (Democrat-Delaware) leads an eight-member United States Congressional delegation to the federal Republic of Nigeria.

The delegation is visiting Nigeria to discuss wide range of issues including Boko Haram, according to a press statement Monday.

In a statement release said, Senator Coons, who is a member of the Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Ethics committees is leading the largest U.S. congressional delegation to Nigeria, according to the U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria.

U.S. Congregation delegation in West Africa, beginning with Nigeria with Nigeria’s Vice President (Center)

The delegation also includes Senator Gary Peters (D-Michigan); Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colorado); Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Delaware); Representative Terri Sewell (D-Alabama); Representative Charlie Dent (Republican-Pennsylvania); Representative Barbara Lee (D-California); and Representative Frederica Wilson (D-Florida).

Senator Coons D-Delaware) shakes hands with Nigeria’s Vice President Osinbajo

The U.S. Congressional delegation will also visit Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and The Gambia during their West Africa tour.

The U.S. legislators will meet with a range of high-ranking political and traditional leaders to gain a fulsome picture of the bilateral relationship.

The delegation will be in the West African region from August 28 to 31.

The U.S. to Nigeria, Ambassador W. Stuart Symington and staff will brief the delegation before meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, other members of the National Assembly, and religious and civil society leaders.

Sen. Coons with VP Osinbajo

Among the issues of concern to the U.S. congregational delegation will center the fight against Boko Haram and the humanitarian situation in the northeast of Nigeria.

According to release, they will also visit Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub where trade and investment relations will be the topic of discussion.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has notified Congress of a $593 million aircraft sale to Nigeria

The Pentagon notified the U.S. Congress on Monday of the sale to Nigeria of 12 Super Tucano A-29 planes and weapons worth $593 million.

Nigeria wants the equipment in its fight against the militant group Boko Haram.

The sale was announced by the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The Super Tucano A-29, an agile, propeller-driven plane with reconnaissance and surveillance as well as attack capabilities, is made by Brazil’s Embraer.

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Blama G. Konuwah

Blama G. Konuwah resides in Vancouver, Canada. He is a public issues analyst and senior contributor to Globe Afrique.

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