In spite of the spate of attacks executed in some parts of the North-east in recent weeks by the out lauded Boko Haram sect, the United States has expressed confidence that Nigeria would eventually overcome terror.
It, however, expressed hope that the federal government would be able to put an end to the attacks before the 2015 general election in a bid to ensure that residents in the three states under emergency rule would be able to exercise their rights to vote.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said these while speaking at a press briefing following the US-Nigeria Bi-national Commission in Abuja yesterday.
“I think the Nigerian government would defeat Boko Haram. We are giving the government tremendous amount of support and advice and it is our hope for the people of Nigeria that Boko Haram is defeated. 70 people were killed in the North this week, and the numbers are in the thousands. That cannot continue, the government has a responsibility to provide security for those people and we are working with the government to assist them in doing that.
“This is something that requires a multi-faceted approach. It is not just a security issue, it requires getting into the communities, knowing the communities, and it requires addressing some of the communities’ needs. The government is working in that direction, but bringing this to an end is a tough job. We have made it clear to the government that we are with them; we back them in their efforts to find a solution to Boko Haram,” she said.
On speculations as to whether the US may decide to assist Nigeria fight Boko Haram by deploying drones, the envoy noted that military actions could only be taken in coordination with and at the request of the government being assisted.
“Even if there were such plans, they would not be discussed in publicly,” Thomas-Greenfield said, adding that the US was already assisting Nigeria in ways that were ‘appropriate’ for Nigeria. Meanwhile, the federal government has expressed its readiness to work with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media to ensure proper orientation and education of the citizenry ahead of the 2015 general election.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the third session of Good Governance, Transparency and Integrity Working Group, the US-Nigeria BNC, the government also pledged to work with other stakeholders to educate Nigerians on electoral procedures and reforms, party discipline and procedure.
Both countries pledged to work towards ensuring the credibility and transparency of the polls, which they acknowledged was necessary for the prosperity and democratic development of Nigeria.
The US pledged to work with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), CSOs and other stakeholders to ensure non violent and credible polls that would reflect the will of the Nigerian people.