United States’ Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has appealed to the Nigerian Government to assist other West African countries grappling with the containment of the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease in their country.
According to her, the Nigerian Government has better effective strategies for the containment and management of the virus than other West African countries like Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
She made her plea after meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, in Abuja on Thursday.
Thomas-Greenfield was on an official visit to Nigeria to attend a security meeting, as well as discuss issues on health and the 2015 general elections in Nigeria.
The United States’ Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, in the Department of State, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has explained reasons why the government of the United States of America decided to officially name the Boko Haram sect a terrorist organisation.
According to Mrs Greenfield, the decision to designate Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organisation will provide the US government “tools that will assist the Nigerian government in addressing these problems.”
She disclosed that the US is providing equipment including non-lethal materials and vehicles. “The military is working with the government on the list of requirements. We are also assisting with coordination tools so that various elements of the government security sector coordinate better with each other.”
She stressed the importance of communication between the different security agencies citing one major failure on the part of the US government during the 9/11 crisis.
“One of our major failures after 9/11 was the fact that our security agencies did not have communications that allowed them to communicate cross-agencies,” she said, adding that the US government would help Nigeria in connecting all the agencies working on combating Boko Haram.
In the area of intelligence gathering, Mrs Greenfield said it is part of the package but was quick to add that it is still in process as discussions are still on-going.
The United States Assistant Secretary of State, African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield has berated the level of corruption in Nigeria with the view that the political class is not doing enough to stop it.
Speaking on the Saturday edition of Channels Television’s breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise’, Ms Greenfield said “This is something that embarrasses all Nigerians, I know.”
“Given the fact that corruption has been pervasive in Nigeria for so many years; I think additional political will is required to address the issue.”
Probed further by Anchor, Kayode Akintemi, she said whatever effort that is currently being made by the Nigerian government “is not cutting it, and it is not cutting it in many places in Africa, not just in Nigeria, and it is a deterrent to investments coming into this country.”
“I know that there are people who want to invest but they changed their minds because they get pushed in a different direction because of corruption.”
She went on to state examples of corrupt practises ongoing in Nigeria, that the US government is aware of, stating that it was a conversation that the US government has had with Nigeria for many years that Nigeria ought to be “the African tiger in terms of economic growth” but one thing that is holding it back is corruption.
She stressed that she knew Nigeria quite well, having been studying the country since her first visit in 1978, in addition to her experience in foreign service on the African continent, and corruption had always been an issue.
Ms Greenfield added that the issues of corruption are not for the American government to deal with on behalf of Nigeria, but the country would have to make its own efforts.
The United States Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, in the Department of State, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has spoken about her first visit to Nigeria following her appointment during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise.
Mrs Greenfield said that her visit was to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries and follow-up on the meeting President Goodluck Jonathan held with President Barak Obama in New York, in September. “Nigeria is one of our largest partners in Africa,” she said.
“I came with my team to talk about issues that came up during those discussions.”
The discussions centred on improving the bi-lateral relationship between the two nations, security concerns involving the Boko Haram sect, oil theft and other issues.
“More particularly, we spoke about the issues related to Boko Haram and how to address the issues of terrorism being faced by Nigeria. Our view is that terrorism anywhere is terrorism everywhere and so what is happening here in Nigeria has an impact on its neighbours and other countries in the world and we want the government of Nigeria to succeed in its efforts to do away with terrorism in the North of Nigeria.”
She further disclosed that the United States government had made commitments to the federal government when the meeting held in September.
The commitments include providing training and assistance to the military on how they can address counter insurgencies as well as providing advice based on their good and bad experiences.
She also mentioned that they would pay special attention to ensure that the Nigerian military is sensitive to the impact of its anti-terrorism activities on communities and to ensure that human rights violations are not committed.
She added that the discussion between the two presidents held in New York was good and very productive.
Issues of oil bunkering were also part of the discussions and another team from the United States’ government is expected to arrive in Port Harcourt, on Saturday. The team will also hold meetings with government on how to address the problem.