The U.S. Government is enjoying “strong and solid relationship” with the Government and people of Nigeria, an American official said on Saturday.
“We are very proud of that relationship. Nigeria is important,’’ the US out-going Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Amb. Johnnie Carson, said at a reception in his honour by African ambassadors in the U.S.
The North America Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that senior officers from the U.S. State Department, National Security Council and Advisers to the President on African Affairs attended the event at the Nigeria Embassy in Washington.
“As a result of this, some four years ago, shortly after she took office as Secretary of State, Secretary Hillary Clinton, established a strategic partnership to dialogue with Nigeria; that dialogue continues to go on, we believe it is a critical part of the relationship with United States in Nigeria.
“Let me here say I am proud of the fact that Nigeria is one of America’s too most important friends and partners in Africa. Nigeria along South Africa is the most important country in sub-Sahara Africa.
“We (U.S.) value enormously our relationship with Nigeria. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, it’s a country which supplies roughly nine per cent of America’s oil, it supplies most of our crude. It is a source of U.S. investment in energy field.
“We also look at Nigeria as a critical country economically, politically and security wise in West Africa,’’ Carson said.
He said that Nigeria was driving the economy of West Africa, adding that its military had helped to establish peace and stability in the region.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Olugbenga Ashiru, said that Nigeria would not forget Carson’s timely support for the country’s invention of the doctrine of necessity during the testy period of the sickness of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Represented by Nigeria’s Ambassador to the U.S., Prof. Ade Adefuye, the minister appreciated Carson presence and commendation of the process of Nigeria’s elections in 2011.
“We shall not also forget the frequent visits that you made to Nigeria, either to lead trade delegations, engage in high-level consultations or to accompany the secretary of state.
“We also fondly remember how you worked hard to make the visit of our president, vice-president and foreign minister to the U.S. successful,’’ Ashiru added.
He said that Nigeria valued the high quality of support the outgoing Assistant Secretary for African Affairs had provided the country’s ambassador and staff of the Embassy in Washington.
“As you retire, our prayer is that the good Lord will continue to guide and guard you and you will live your well deserved retirement in happiness and comfort,’’ Ashiru said.
Also the representative of the ECOWAS Chairman, Amb. Daouda Diabate, of Cote d’Ivoire, described Carson as a “true son of Africa ’’.
“Ambassador Carson is a man who knows what responsibility means, what dedication means and mostly what development in its entire dimension, including democracy and rule of law mean.
“I’m not speaking today in the name of Cote d’Ivoire, nevertheless, I can’t resist mentioning what Ambassador Carson has done for my country in terms of humanitarian assistance as well as commitment to make democracy prevail during the 2011 post electoral crisis, ’’ Diabate said.
He added that Carson had done such contributions for so many other countries on the continent.
According to him, Carson also did a lot during the visit to Cote d’Ivoire with former Secretary of State, Clinton, in January 2012.
“Be assured that it is the whole 300 million ECOWAS population that is expressing this recognition and acknowledgment to you,’’ Diabate said.