18 February 2014

Nigeria Will Overcome Boko Haram, Says U.S

Photo: Vanguard
Boko Haram.

The U.S. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in Abuja on Tuesday expressed confidence in the ability of the Nigeria government and its military to defeat Boko Haram.

Thomas-Greenfield gave the assurance in a news conference in Abuja at the end of the two-day Nigeria-U.S. Bi-National Commission (BNC) meeting on good governance, transparency and integrity.

Her remarks came on the heels of the attack in Izge village on Saturday in Borno, in which no fewer than 100 people were killed by the insurgents.

Also, Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno was in Abuja for talks with President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday where he urgently appealed for more troops to fight the insurgents.

Greenfield told reporters that the U.S. was strongly committed to support Nigeria in the fight against insurgents.

"I do not think it is a failure of U.S. government if Nigeria government fails to defeat Boko Haram, I think the Nigeria government will defeat Boko Haram.

"We are given the government tremendous amount of support and advice and it is our hope for the people of Nigeria that Boko Haram is defeated," she said.

She expressed sympathy to Nigerians and families who lost their loved ones in the latest massacre in the North-eastern part of the country.

"Extremism is a problem not only in Nigeria, it is a problem that we have faced in the United States, what we have learnt is that terrorism anywhere affects everyone," she said.

On the possible use of drones in Nigeria to counter insurgents, the U.S. top envoy for Africa said such military plans were not for the public knowledge.

"We are working closely with your government and anytime such military actions are taken it is with the coordination of the requesting government," she said.

Meanwhile, in a communiqué issued at the end of the BNC meeting, both countries agreed to increase operational collaboration in the investigation and prosecution of individuals and groups involved in corruption.

The communiqué said that Nigeria and the U.S. would collaborate in cases of money laundering, illicit finance, and related economic crimes.

The meeting also agreed that ensuring the credibility of the electoral process would require adequate preparations for activities at all stages of the electoral cycle.

Both countries recognised the importance of continuing a programme of electoral reforms as outlined by INEC and the relevance of the security services in working with INEC to safeguard the election materials.

According to the communiqué, Nigeria expresses its determination to prevent thuggery and all forms of violence during the election period. (NAN)

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