The Nigeria Government has handed over six Mine-Resistant and All-Terrain Armoured Military Vehicles (MRTV) intercepted in August, to the American government.
Speaking during the handing over ceremony, the Comptroller of Customs in charge of Adamawa and Taraba States, Kamardeen Olumoh, said it is in line with a directive from the National Security Adviser to release the vehicle to the American Government.
“There is no doubt that somethings were left undone and of course, diplomacy will always reign supreme and perhaps that’s why the directive came that all things are sorted out and we should ensure compliance and ensure we assist in all possible ways to ensure that they are evacuated.”
In appreciation, the Deputy Chief of Missions, Embassy of United States of America in Nigeria Kathleen FitzGibbon thanked the Nigerian government for its understanding and for securing the vehicles.
“I’m sorry that we have caused some inconvenience and the next few days will be interesting on how we are going to move them out in terms of logistics. Your patience, flexibility, I can’t tell you how grateful we are.”
The six Mine-Resistant Military Vehicles were intercepted by a combined team of security agencies in August this year in Konkol, Maiha local government of Adamawa state, a border community on the Nigeria Cameroon border.
The trucks were intercepted while transiting from Cameroon to Niger via the Nigerian border.
American Government says it has created a medium to enable citizens based outside the country vote for the candidate of their choice in the US presidential elections.
The Public Affairs Officer of the US Consulate in Lagos, Darcy Zotter, explained the process tagged “System for Absentee Balloting” to Channels Television at the election night watch in the early hours of Wednesday.
“We actually have a system for absentee balloting and what was interesting for me today is that Nigerian-American will come into the consulate in Lagos today and still be able to vote”.
Zotter gave the assurance that the votes might count in the general polls, saying that the absentee balloting was a key factor in the 2000 US elections.
On which side of the divide she is, she said that her job is to support the policies of whoever emerges as the new American President.
Meanwhile, US citizens in Nigeria are also keeping an election night watch in Abuja as Americans decide who becomes their 44th President.
Lined up for the night watch are mock debates of the candidates, a mock election, actual live monitoring of the polls and results collation which are expected to last until Wednesday morning.
The US Deputy Chief of Mission to Nigeria, Mr David Young, says 270 votes are all either candidate requires to win the race.
Young adds that about seven key states should be monitored closely as the polls progress.
Among the states identified as the battle ground and deciding factors to the next president of the world power are Pennsylvania, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North California and Colorado.
The American Government has called on religious leaders in Nigeria to pay close attention to the critical challenge of combating corruption.
The U.S. restated its commitment to helping Nigeria eradicate corruption in all sectors of the country.
The U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities, Shaarik Zafar, made the call on Monday at a press conference in Kano State, northwest Nigeria.
“Religious leaders speak a common language with their communities and have incomparable access, unique network and respect that would enhance the common fight against corruption and promote accountability,” he pointed out.
The U.S. envoy further highlighted that the use of religious leaders to fight corruption was not a last resort, but perhaps a more thoughtful resolve to promoting economic growth and opportunity.
He added that the resolve would also help maintain peace and security while protecting the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.
Mr Zafar observed that most Muslim communities around the world were faced with numerous crisis ranging from war and conflict, violent extremism and sectarianism as well as poverty and lack of educational opportunities.
He said although the US had a global mandate to discourage corruption, they hope to fight corruption with the help of Nigerians.
The United States has urged Nigeria to increase funding of the agriculture sector to end poverty and build greater capacity.
The Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mr Michael Harvey, made the appeal on Monday at a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture and state representatives at the US embassy in Abuja.
Mr Harvey identified lack of capital and research among other challenges as a major hindrance to job creation and development in the sector.
He said that the neglect of the agriculture sector has given rise to hunger, poverty and a huge population of youths struggling to find jobs.
The US official expressed worry at the challenge faced by the American government in seeking to intensify partnership to assist the sector to be economically productive under the Feed the Future initiative.
The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbeh, on his part commended the support of the US towards improving the sector.
He also hinted that the Federal Government would launch an agriculture fund to improve investment.
Human rights activist, Annkio Briggs, has called on the Federal Government not to back out of talks with the Niger Delta militants, although the group had refused to come to the table.
The English-born Nigerian activist made the appeal on Wednesday while suggesting solutions to the attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region.
“The British government is recommending dialogue with the Niger Delta Avengers, the American government is recommending the same, and it is a welcome recommendation.
“People like me support that recommendation and also call on the people blowing up the pipeline that they should also hold their peace, let us see how we can now sit down and discuss the issues,” she said on Sunrise Daily.
Injustice In Nigeria Briggs asked the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to look at past documents and policies, to find a lasting solution to the problem.
She observed that there were lots of injustice in Nigeria and called for a genuine review of the issues which, according to her, include the physical federalism, national conference report, oil well licences among others.
Following INEC’s postponement of the general elections initially scheduled to hold in February, the United States has said it is ‘deeply disappointed’ by the decision.
In a statement posted on the Department of State’s website, the Secretary of State, John Kerry noted that “political interference with the Independent National Electoral Commission” is unacceptable, calling on the government to “not use security concerns as a pretext for impeding the democratic process”.
John Kerry had visited Nigeria recently to personally convey the American government’s interest in the Presidential Election, which had been slated for February 14.
In his statement on Saturday, John Kerry said that the “international community will be watching closely as the Nigerian Government prepares for elections on the newly scheduled dates.”
“The United States underscores the importance of ensuring that there are no further delays.”
He stressed that the U.S supports “a free, transparent, and credible electoral process in Nigeria”, renewing the government’s calls on “all candidates, their supporters, and Nigerian citizens to maintain calm and reject election-related violence”.
The United States has expressed concern about the worsening security situation in Nigeria despite efforts to resolve the crisis in the north eastern part of the country.
US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who gave an address to the regional security working group of the Nigerian-US Bi-National Commission, said the security situation in the North East is “steadily worsening, deeply disturbing and increasingly dangerous with each passing day”.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said security requires engagement by the three tiers of government and the civil society. She also promised that the United States will support Nigeria and its security agencies as they perform those responsibilities.
She further told the gathering that the US is worried about the more than 700,000 internally displaced persons in the North East and reports that the number is increasing, noting that “the frequency and scope of Boko Haram’s terror attacks have grown more acute and constitutes a serious threat to this country’s overall security. Boko Haram has shown that it can operate not only in the North East, but in Kano, Abuja and elsewhere.
We are very troubled by the apparent capture of Bama and the prospects for an attack on Maiduguri, which would impose a tremendous toll on the civilian population”, she said.
She expressed worry that “despite our collective efforts, the situation on the ground is worsening” adding that “Abubakar Shekau’s bold announcement that Boko Haram is now governing a caliphate only adds to the perception that the security situation is steadily worsening”.
She however noted that “in order to combat this trend, President Barrack Obama launched a major security initiative called the Security Governance Initiative during the recent U.S African Leaders Summit to support Nigeria and the region”, in addition to the “technical training to military and police forces engaged in the fight against Boko Haram”.
She further expressed the willingness of the American government to “provide advanced training to a Nigerian Infantry battalion”.
She also applauded the motivation of the unit and progress it is making insisting that “it is critical that the investment in this unit be properly maintained and utilized upon deployment, with clean supply chains and adequate supplies, a strong chain of command and missions and values that address Nigeria’s counter terrorism threat and keep civilians safe”, warning that “the reputation of Nigeria’s military is at stake”.
She said America is “eager to hear from you (Nigeria) about your plans for how civilians can better be protected throughout Nigeria” insisting that “those plans are critically important as you move forward towards your national elections next February”.
She also disclosed plans by the American government to “launch a major border security program under our Global Security Contingency Fund”, which will include Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
A research has revealed that 95,000 Nigerians die annually as a result of diseases caused by toxic cook stove smoke. The research was conducted by a UN linked organization that has launched a campaign against such deaths in the country, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.
The report also claimed that a total of two million people die yearly from the said toxic cook smoke disease, with Nigeria recording the highest number of deaths in Africa.
Executive Director of the organization, Radha Muthiah opined that the disease and its accompanying risks should not be treated with kidgloves but accorded same attention as global killer diseases i.e malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
“We feel the time is right and the time is indeed now with the launch of the Nigerian Alliance as well to arrest this silent killer in homes of half of the world population,” she said at Tuesday’s launch.
He also said that number of people that are dependent on solid fuels for cooking has hit three million, a practice he claims also aids deforestation, which according to scientists say contributes to global warming and climate change.
US Ambassador to Nigeria, Terence McCulley confirmed his government’s commitment to the project and also announced a donation of up to $105 million to be remitted over the next five years to fund the project, which aims to create markets for cleaner burning stoves.
US Ambassador to Nigeria Terence McCulley said his government has committed up to $105 million over the next five years for the project, which aims to create markets for cleaner burning stoves.
The Coordinator of the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Ewah Eleri, said the target is to see Nigeria equipped with 10 million clean cookstoves by 2020, beginning with half a million within the next 12 months.