Following the on-going scandal about over $15m seized from Nigeria, supposedly for the purchase of arms, the United States government has debunked the reports that the country has refused to sell arms to the Nigerian government based on human rights violation in the fight against terrorists group, Boko Haram in the country.
The denial was made on Wednesday by the United States of America’s envoy to Nigeria, Ambassador James Entwistle, while speaking as a guest at the Diplomatic Dialogue Series organised by the Nigeria Leadership Initiative, NLI, Vanguard reports.
Entwistle, who insisted that the US has not cut off Nigeria militarily, assured that the two countries would continue to enjoy good military relationship.
The US envoy went ahead to clear the air that his recent assertion about arms sale to Nigeria was misinterpreted, arguing that, he never at any time said the US will not sell arms to Nigeria on account of human rights violations.
“Nigeria and the US have a military relationship that continues. We look at every aspect of that relationship very carefully in the context of our policy, Nigeria policy including human rights. This is a process that we undergo with every country in the world. But we have a rich military relationship with Nigeria that continues even as I speak.
“Let me be clear, the United States wants Nigeria to win its war on terror and we are here to support the effort. Security is a critical dimension of our bilateral relationship. As friends and partners, we provide support in the form of equipment and training, but we also share our own lessons learned in combating terrorism,” Entwistle said.
The US ambassador further explained that over the past decade, the U.S has learned that defeating terrorism requires more than just military power; instead it requires protecting civilian populations which the terrorists don’t. He said it requires working to develop impoverished areas where extremism takes root, ensuring that education is accessible to all as well as empowering a free and fair press to report openly and without fear of reprisal.
”And, perhaps, most importantly, it requires engaging the growing youth populations that are being swayed towards extremism due to lack of economic opportunities, education, and distrust of government. In other words, it requires a comprehensive, whole of government approach. The work we are doing with the Nigerian government and people addresses these needs,” he said.
It would be recalled that on October 11, 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan was said to meet with President Barak Obama and the British Prime Minister, David Cameroun to discuss why the two countries have refused to sell arms that would empower the Nigerian Military in fighting members of the dreaded terrorist group, Boko Haram.
However, the US authorities have explained why the Nigerian military had problems procuring arms from America in order to fight insurgency in the North-East.
Meanwhile, the US government was also one of the first country who expressed its readiness to support Nigerian government in its fight against Boko Haram after designating Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) on November 14, 2013.