Nigeria: Obama Invites JonathanBy George Agba, 14 August 2013
United States President, Barrack Obama has invited President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria for talks on issues bordering on terrorists activities in the African continent among others .
Disclosing this to State House correspondents, United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Wendy Sherman, who is leading a delegation to the US-Nigeria bi-national commission meeting, said all was set for both leaders to meet soon and discuss issues bordering on security, governance, education and agriculture.
According to her, while she came to the presidential villa to deliver a letter from Obama to the Nigerian President Jonathan who was gracious enough to accept the letter, adding that "We look forward to working further on the basis of the letter."
She said, "The binational commission is really an invaluable tool for both nations to work together for a strong relationship, especially to support Nigeria as it moves forward to tackle its challenges. Our presidents are likely to meet soon. I will leave that announcement to the President of the United States and the President of Nigeria.
"The issues before the bi-national commission range from security to governance, education and agriculture. Nigeria is a very important country, not only here on the continent, but around the world. Nigeria has served on the Security Council of the UN and it is likely to do so again in future.
"He is the head of the Committee on Democracy and has been leader in so many ways, like in ECOWAS as a peace-keeper all around the world. These are the partnerships that are important to us. Secretary Kerry had a meeting with President Jonathan in Addis at the AU summit, and so, we look for every opportunity to strengthen our relationship."
Nigeria: U.S. - Boko Haram Is Exploiting Religion to Make Country UngovernableBy Chineme Okafor, 16 August 2013
The United States Thursday said the ongoing terrorists acts perpetrated in parts of northern Nigeria by the terrorist group, Boko Haram, offered no practical solutions to the challenges of development in the north.
It explained that the terrorist group was capitalising on popular local frustrations, religious differences as well as economic and social difficulties to undermine the Nigerian government while also exploiting religious differences to create chaos and make Nigeria ungovernable for the government.
Assessing government's strategies in the fight against terrorism in the north, the US equally advocated the initiation of a new approach that would complement government's counter-terrorism strategy in northern Nigeria.
The new approach, it said, should encompass an economic recovery strategy that would attract the support of governors, local chiefs and young people of the region.
The US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Wendy Sherman, stated this at the opening session of the ninth Nigeria-US Binational Commission (BNC) meeting in Abuja, where she also reiterated her country's resolve to continue working with Nigeria towards securing a stable future that ensures civilian security and provides for the well-being of Nigerians.
"Nigeria faces several challenges to national and regional stability. The largest of these challenges is, of course, a Boko Haram-led insurgency operating in the country's North-east that has created widespread insecurity across northern Nigeria, increased tensions between various ethnic communities, interrupted development activities, frightened off investors, and generated concern 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 regions.
"We know that Boko Haram offers no practical solution to northern Nigeria's problems. Instead, it capitalises 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 Nigeria ungovernable," Sherman said.
She further explained that the US 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," she said.
Speaking on the importance of Nigeria to the US, Sherman stated that the US is proud of its strong ties with Nigeria, adding that such strong partnerships endure the test of time between governments and people.
According to her, sustained security efforts are necessary to protect innocent Nigerians, prevent Boko Haram's acts of violence and capture and prosecute its leaders through a new social compact with Nigerian citizens that encompasses an economic recovery strategy as a complement to the government's security strategy.
She said: "The United States and Nigeria have ties to each other at every level. At some $5 billion, Nigeria is the second largest destination for US private investment in Africa.
"However, one of our strongest connections is even more personal. More than 1.5 million Nigerians and Nigerian-Americans live in the United States and an estimated 31,000 US citizens live in Nigeria.
"Strong partnerships endure the test of time between governments and between people. We are both democracies that continue to evolve to meet the needs of our citizens and respond to the multifaceted and ever-changing dynamics of the international community.
"The US remains committed to working with Nigeria towards securing a future for your country that ensures stability and civilian security and provides for the well-being of all of Nigeria's people."
On the new complementary approach to the fight against terrorism in the north, Sherman said: "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 recognise that success cannot be achieved unless Nigeria surmounts the challenges that frustrate progress. It is in this spirit that the US engages today in this working group on Regional Security Cooperation (RSC).
"The Nigerian government and 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.