The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, has explained that the dismal human rights record is responsible for limiting the scope of the country’s assistance to Nigeria in its fight against Boko Haram.
The ambassador made the disclosure at the American University of Nigeria in an interaction with journalists shortly after delivering a lecture at the institution as part of activities lined up by the university to mark its 10th year anniversary.
He also had a brief meeting with the former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who is the founder of the university on the campus.
Entwistle noted that it would be wrong of the US to extend help to the Nigerian military in the face of gross human rights abuses.
He was responding to the question that the US was not forthcoming in its support of Nigeria in the war against Boko Haram.
There had been reports that the US was stifling acquisition of high tech military hardware in the country’s quest to contain the activities of the dreaded sect.
He said one of the ground norms for the US assistance on procurement of sophisticated military hardware was for the US to look at the human rights record of that country.
The ambassador said that for Nigeria, there had been instances of human rights abuses across its borders, especially in the North-East, stressing that it would be wrong for the US to extend help to the Nigerian military in the face of gross human rights abuses.
Entwistle, however, explained that much as the US would have loved to assist Nigeria, it realised that “if you don’t take care of the soldiers on the ground, even if you buy hi-tech equipment, it doesn’t help the situation because it won’t work”.
He said it was this concerns which made it difficult for the US to be a little circumspect in Nigeria’s acquisition of military hitech military hardware.
The ambassador, however, stressed that the notion that the US was not sharing equipment with Nigeria was not true because so far the US and Nigeria had enjoyed “fantastic relationship which include the sharing of military intelligence and equipment support from the US to their Nigerian military counter-parts”.
Entwistle said that the best was yet to come for Nigeria, noting that even though there were challenges being faced by the Nigerian state, he saw hope in the ability of the country to surmount this challenges to lead Africa.
He added that “even so every country at one time or the other has faced one challenges or the other” and pledged the support of the American people.
“Our commitment to help your country in these struggles has not changed it is growing every day.”
The ambassador explained that the US military left Nigeria when it became clear that the government did not require the US military specialty in the government’s quest to release the Chibok girls from their Boko Haram captors.
He added that nonetheless the US support for the Nigerian government in its effort to secure the release of the girls still remained.
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