The Unites States has pledged to help Nigeria secure the over 100 school girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in Dapchi, Yobe State, North-East of the country.
US Secretary of State, Mr Rex Tillerson disclosed this to Journalists soon after he held a meeting with President Muhammadu Buahri on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said: “Boko haram and ISIS West Africa have caused the displacement of millions and stolen the future from so many. The recent kidnapping of more than 100 schoolgirls is heartbreaking. Nigeria has the United States’ full support and we are actively working with our partners here on other ways we can assist you in this fight. The way we support is in providing capability capacity with its equipment, training of personnel for special operations and sharing certain intelligence to ensure that they have all the information available to plan and carry out the recovery effort. ”
Tillerson said the US plans to expand its trade relations with Nigeria because of its strategic position as the second largest business partner of the US in Africa.
“We collaborate to create a number of opportunities to increase trade and investment and to expand access to electricity and essential proponents for both human and economic development. As Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria is America’s second largest business partner on the continent, with over $9 billion in Nigerian-US total goods trade last year. Later this year we will inaugurate the Nigerian—US commercial and investment dialogue and a trade and investment framework council, both very positive steps aimed at developing strong business network,” he said.
The US Secretary of State thanked Nigeria for the very important role it is playing in the efforts to resuscitate the Lake Chad as well as enhancing security in the Chad basin.
“We thank Nigeria for the leadership role it is playing in the Lake Chad Basin Multi National Joint Task Force with Chad, Cameroun, Niger and Benin. You have the United States’ full support,” the US Secretary of State noted.
He commended Nigeria’s peaceful transition in 2015 and solicited that same be repeated in next year’s general elections.
The US also commended Nigeria for its sustained effort towards ending corruption as well as improving the security situation in the North-East.
Answering questions form journalists, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama debunked the insinuation that it took over a week for the Nigerian government to react to the kidnapping of Dapchi schoolgirls.
“With regards to the kidnapped of the girls in Dapchi, it is incorrect to say we took a week to acknowledge. It was acknowledged immediately and everything was being done and we were strategizing. Other people might have made comments but those comments do not represent any government coming out with the acknowledgment.
Emphasizing that the boko haram terrorists group has been degraded, the Minister said:“Fighting terrorism is a new challenge globally. When we talked of having degraded boko haram, we were referring specifically to the situation that we were confronted with when the government took over. That was a situation where you have a classical military confrontation and boko haram were capturing territories, holding unto same and hoisting flags.
So as a conventional military threat, boko haram has been completely degraded. Now, there is a challenge with regards to sporadic suicides and bombings and of course largely, there is kidnapping of the girls. We don’t by any way or strength of imagination minimize those but it’s really a different kind of warfare as it is and the government is sparing no effort in addressing that.”