12 February 2014

Nigeria: U.S. Spent U.S.$3.6 Billion in Fight Against HIV/Aids in 10 Years, Says Envoy

Fight against HIV/Aids.

The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, Tuesday said the US government had spent over $3.6 dollars in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria in 10 years.

He also said the ongoing war against terrorism required more than a military solution to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency ravaging the North-eastern part of the country.

Entwistle made the disclosure yesterday during an interview with selected journalists in Sokoto. According to him, the huge funds spent in the last decade was an indication of the commitment of the US government to the fight against the scourge in the country.

He pointed out that the US was in partnership with NACA and other organisations in the country with a view to redressing the ugly trend.

"We work closely with NACA and other organisations fighting against HIV/AIDS in a bid to tackle the scourge that has ravaged many communities," he said. The ambassador noted that despite the fact that HIV/AIDs was a difficult issue to manage in concrete terms, tremendous progress had been recorded in a bid to curb the scourge in the country.

He noted that many countries in Africa were already ahead of Nigeria in the fight against HIV/AIDS, stressing the need for the authorities to redouble their efforts in order to tackle it in Nigeria. The US envoy however, acknowledged the difficulty in reaching some remote areas in the country which further hampered the fight against the disease.

Entwistle said the country was making progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, especially with the emergence of vibrant civil society organisations, working hard to sensitise the people on the dangers posed by the disease.

The envoy asserted that the war against the Boko Haram insurgency required more than military solution, adding that the federal government should give priority to poverty alleviation, educational opportunities and training of the police officers.

"The US wants the Nigerian government to win its war on terror but we believe it requires more than military solution. Of course, the military solution is very important and that is why we are working with the military to share lessons on counter insurgency strategies. So government has to move beyond military solution to improve on poverty alleviation, education and training for the police force," he added. He expressed the commitment of the US towards assisting Nigeria to tackle the security challenges bedeviling it.

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