3 February 2013

Nigeria Has Great Capability to Fight Terrorism - U.S. Commander

Gen. Carter Ham, Commander, U.S. African Command (AFRICOM), says Nigeria has the capability to fight the war against Boko Haram terrorism.

Ham said this at the weekend while speaking with the Nigerian Media Delegation on a visit to AFRICOM Headquarters in Stuttgart.

He was reacting to a specific request by the Nigeria Government from the U.S. military to locate some of the Boko Haram leaders.

"Nigeria has great capability to fight terrorism, but what Nigeria asked for are some equipment.

"The U.S. can help the Nigerian military to better understand how we use various intelligence information from various sources and how to put them together in a coherent manner so that government can then make right choices as to what action to undertake, " he said.

According to the commander, information comes from a wide range of sources like the media, human resources and technical sources.

He said in Nigeria, like the U.S., multiple organisations had responsibilities for different pieces of information collected, and analyse the process.

Ham said one of the things the U.S. learnt over the past years in Iraq and Afghanistan was how to fuse all that information in a coherent manner so that serious decision could be taken and direction given to the various entities of government.

"Nigeria asked us for some help in that process and that is being undertaken now, " he added.

The Africom chief also explained that the command was in partnership with Nigeria in other areas of military cooperation like in maritime security of the Gulf, important to Nigeria and the U.S.

He said Nigeria's leading role on the security in the Gulf of Guinea was appreciated.

"For air force, our responsibilities and engagement in Nigeria are principally focused on finding ways to improve the operational capability in the Nigerian Air Force.

"This is to enable more of Nigerian Air Force fleet to be operational and be able to support Nigerian aviation sector.

"And if Nigeria can increase the availability and the operational readiness rate of its air fleet, it would help in the transportation of Nigerian battalions, " Ham said.

Ham said the command's focus had been to help the Army develop the capability required to deal with many challenges. (NAN)

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