Friday, May 13, 2016 8:27 pm
Mr Antony Blinken, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, on Friday described Nigeria as the leader of other countries in the fight against terrorism.
Blinken, who hailed Nigeria’s anti-terrorism stance, spoke to State House Correspondents after a visit to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja on Friday.
The U.S. Deputy Secretary of State is in Nigeria ahead of Saturday’s Security Summit to be hosted by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Now here we have this very important security summit that Nigeria is hosting, with countries around the world attending.
“This is an evidence of the strength of the Nigerian leadership, with the effort that the President and the Vice President are making to strengthen the economy, fight corruption and deal with the security challenges”, he said.
He further hailed the relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. since Buhari’s inauguration as Nigeria’s President.
“I was here just a little less than a year ago in preparation for President Buhari’s visit to Washington and since then we have seen the relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. grow deeper and stronger”, he stated.
Blinken expressed belief that all Boko Haram’s captives, especially the Chibok girls, would regain freedom.
“We have been focused on this from day one, doing whatever we can to provide all the assistance and information that we can develop’’, he said of the Chibok girls.
According to him, this is something that has personally touched so many people in the U.S., including President Barack Obama and his family.
“It is something that we are focused on every single day. Of course there are others besides the girls who have been taken hostage by Boko Haram.
“Our thoughts are with them as well and we are determined as the Nigerian government, not to rest until we get them home”, he added.
In a related development, Blinken said Nigeria and the United States have expressed determination to jointly develop a comprehensive approach to ending Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad Basin.
He spoke during a visit to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja on Friday.
“What we are working on together is truly a comprehensive approach to the challenge posed by Boko Haram.
“The military component is critical; it is necessary, but it is not sufficient.
“A comprehensive approach has to include taking care of people in their home communities with good governance, with access to actual resources and to jobs so that they are not susceptible to being pulled in to extremism out of desperation.
“It has to include support particularly for displaced persons as well as refugees so that they too can have some basic livelihood and basis support.”