The United States has again; offered partnership with Nigeria to contain insurgency, saying the dreaded Islamist sect, Boko Haram offers no practical solutions to the mirage of problems confronting the north.
Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Wendy Sherman, who disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday, during the opening of Nigeria-US Bi-national Commission on Regional Security Cooperation Working Group, said Nigeria is very important to the US.
Stressing further the urgent need to stem terrorism, Sherman said Nigeria may not be able to realize its full potentials unless; the current security challenge occasioned by frequent attacks by the dreaded Islamist sect, Boko Haram is tackled.
“Nigeria faces several challenges to national and regional stability. The largest of these is, of course a Boko Haram-led insurgency operation in the country’s northeast that has created widespread insecurity across Northern Nigeria, increased tensions between various ethnic communities, interrupted development activities, frightened off investors, and generated concerns among Nigeria’s Northern neighbours.
“Nigeria cannot fully achieve its potential as a stable regional leader until Nigeria successfully overcomes the challenge of Boko Haram and secures peace and protection for all its citizens in all its regions.
“We know that Boko Haram offers no practical solutions to Northern Nigeria’ problems, instead, it capitalizes on popular frustrations, religious differences, and economic and social difficulties, seeking to undermine the government and exploit religious differences in order to create chaos and make the country ungovernable.
“Nigeria’s success is important to us, and we will continue to invest in Nigeria’s institutions, people, and businesses to both countries’ mutual benefit. We also recognize that success cannot be achieved unless Nigeria surmounts the challenges that frustrate progress. It is in the spirit that the United States engages today in this workshop group on Regional Security Cooperation,” she said.
The Under Secretary who had on Wednesday, met with president Godluck Jonathan at the State House, said drawing from the her country’s experience, it may not be easy to defeat the insurgents, but hastened to add that deepening partnership with the US could work in sending Boko Haram out of the Nigerian soil.
She spoke further, “The United States knows from experience, the immense difficulty in confronting an enemy that respects no boundaries and kills civilians indiscriminately. Today, I hope that our teams can identify specific areas in the context of regional security where we can deepen our partnership and chart concrete steps forward on those topics on which we are already working together.
“Achieving success will not be easy, but we are ready to work with you as one of our strongest and most faithful friends and partners, to discuss new ways of help. We stand ready to work together to develop a multi-faceted strategy to counter the threat posed by Boko Haram that also demonstrates to civilians that they will be protected.
“Nigeria’s diverse people, land, and spirit have already established a foundation for long-term national and regional stability; however, with today’s insurgent challenges, strong nations must deepen our commitment to respect human life and dignity, build peace, and prevent future atrocities, even in the midst f a protracted conflict with a violent enemy.
“We have designated three individuals Specially Designated Global Terrorists, demonstrating our resolve in working with you to diminish the capacity of Boko Haram to execute violent attacks. We have provided assistance focused on identifying areas for information-sharing, enhancing security force professionalism and developing tactics to increase public confidence in Nigeria’s security response, and improving Nigeria’s forensic and investigative capacity,” the Under Secretary assured.
On the alleged abuse of human rights, Sherman charged the Federal Government to protect the civilians while confronting the insurgents, adding also that perpetrators of violence should be brought to justice.
“Security efforts are necessary to protect innocent Nigerians, to prevent Boko Haram’s acts of violence, and to capture and prosecute its leaders. The Nigerian Government and the Military must also win over the hearts and minds of northern populations by protecting them and providing timely and commensurate justice to both insurgents and the victims of this unfortunate conflict.
“Though no easy task, a comprehensive approach that addresses socio-economic problems; articulates clear rules of engagement, and commits to accountability for those who perpetrate violence, Boko Haram, and security forces will demonstrate to every Nigerian that their future is brighter in a more secure Nigeria.
“We look forward to hearing Nigeria’s unique accounts of what steps you are taking to ensure transparency, accountability and justice, including access for civil society organizations and journalists to the north and what steps have been taken to bring to justice those accused of human rights violations. The United States remains our partner in helping to address this threat that our two nations share,” the Under Secretary assured.