Visiting US multi-agency delegation ended its meeting with Senior Nigerian officials in Abuja on Thursday, saying they have reached new grounds on ways to assist Nigeria contain the violence by the terror-group, Boko Haram, and the conduct of free and free elections in 2015.
Leader of the delegation, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ms Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said during a joint media briefing with the Commander of US African Command (USAFRICOM), Gen. David Rodriguez, that the US now has additional strategies to tackle the challenges posed by Boko Haram not only in Nigeria but globally.
Specifically, she said, ‘designating Boko Haram as a terrorist group, which it is, gives us tools in which we, the US government, will address issues relating to Boko Haram, particularly in the area of terrorist financing.’
The designation, Ms Thomas-Greenfield said, will not imply more scrutiny for Nigerians who are travelling to the US as ‘we have very strict requirement to come to the US and those requirements are imposed on everyone.
‘The multi-agency team came in this format because of the security challenges that exist especially in Northern Nigeria and other places in the world. They are multi-targeted and can’t always be dealt with as a security perspective only, but social, political, educational and infrastructural concerns.’
Another delegate and Special Assistant to the President and senior director for African affairs, Grant Harris described the objectives of the team’s visit to Nigeria to include discussions with government on Boko Haram, free credible election, information sharing between both countries’ military and the Young African Leadership Initiative.
The multi-agency delegation, including the newly-appointed US Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, said that US will support Nigeria to achieve free, fair and credible elections in 2015 by assisting the Independent National Electoral Commission, civil society groups and other stakeholders.