In the bid to check insecurity in Nigeria, the Barrack Obama-led administration in the United States has promised to assist Nigeria develop a more balanced security strategy to counter Boko Haram Islamic sect.
The strategy will take into account the legitimate social, political, and economic grievances of the northern populations.
This was made known by Ambassador Eunice Reddick, a top official of the US Department of State who represented the US government at the just concluded US-Nigeria Trade and Investment Forum, an event organised by Nigerians in the Diaspora Organisation (NIDOA) in Washington DC.
The US official said that her country’s security engagement with Nigeria cannot be separated from good governance which is one of President Barrack Obama’s top priorities in Africa.
She added that progress in the area of security is very crucial to the success of ongoing efforts against Boko Haram, which is drawn to locations where they can take advantage of political and economic vulnerabilities to safeguard their operations and attract recruits.
Her words: “As we all know, security is a prerequisite for successful development in Nigeria. We are deeply saddened by the repeated scenes of violence in Nigeria no matter where they occur- the North, the Delta, the Middle Belt- which threatens to erode the country’s economic process.”
Speaking on the economy, Ambassador Reddick said, economic development in Nigeria requires tearing down corruption which she described as “the walls that stand in the way of progress, the red tape that stops an idea from becoming a business, the patronage that distributes wealth based on tribe or sect.”
She pressed further that raising governance standards in Nigeria remains a priority for the US government, promising that the Obama-led administration will continue to provide training, know-how, and information to strong institutions such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
She added that through the Binational Commission’s agreement, the United States is working with EFCC’s Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde to enable him speed the processing of corruption cases, enhance oversight, and establish a robust internal affairs department. The US official also said that there must be an open and ongoing dialogue about how freedom of information, accountability, and transparency can empower citizens to take on the difficult and deep rooted challenges of corruption in Nigeria.
She however, urged Nigerians in the United States to explore potential partnerships with Nigeria’s civil society to ensure that the Nigerian government follows through on crucial reforms in the areas of transparency and development in the country.