The United States government has promised it will partner with the federal government to help fight the Boko Haram Islamic sect in the North.
The US Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Wendy Sherman, who stated this in Abuja yesterday at the ninth US-Nigeria Bi-National Commission meeting, said winning the war against the sect will enable Nigeria achieve its developmental goals.
Her words: “Nigeria cannot fully achieve its potential as a stable regional leader until Nigeria successfully overcomes the challenge of Boko Haram and secures peace and protection for all its citizens in all regions,” She said.
“Achieving success will not be easy, but we are ready to work with you as one of your strongest and most faithful friends and partners, to discuss new ways of help.
“We have designated three individuals as Specially Designated Global Terrorists, demonstrating our resolve in working with you to diminish the capacity of Boko Haram to execute violent attacks.
“We have provided assistance focused on identifying areas for information- sharing, enhancing security force professionalism and developing tactics to increase public confidence in Nigeria’s security response, and improving Nigerian forensics and investigative capacity.”
Sherman also expressed her country’s readiness in helping Nigeria boost her economy.
“Nigeria’s success is important to us, and we will continue to invest in Nigeria’s institutions, people, and businesses to both countries’ mutual benefit. We also recognise that success cannot be achieved unless Nigeria surmounts the challenges that frustrate progress.
It is in this spirit that the United States engages today in this working group on Regional Security Cooperation,” she said.
Citing instances where the United states government assisted Nigerian in the past, she said: “In 2012, the United States provided Nigeria $647 million in bilateral foreign assistance, including over $480 million to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, demonstrating how important Nigeria to be in the worldwide fight against HIV and AIDS.
“Nigeria’s own leadership and shared responsibility was highlighted at the recent Abuja+12 Summit. “Our bilateral assistance also supports economic growth, education assistance, the strengthening of democratic institutions, and, particularly critically to our conversation at this forum, efforts to help Nigeria address emerging threats.”
In his own remarks at the meeting, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi, listed the areas Nigeria needed US assistance most as: enforcement agencies as well as specialised training programmes in the area of intelligence gathering.
“We will continue to build on the success of several ongoing programmes between the two countries as we implore the United State government to offer capacity building support to our enforcement agencies as well as specialised training programmes in the area of intelligence gathering.
“Given the breath of Nigeria-US relationship, the Regional Security Cooperation Working Group should be an established platform to strengthen the capacity of our security agencies to counter terrorism,” The Permanent Secretary said.