Nigeria: What Nigeria Must Do to Address Insecurity, Economic Challenges – U.S.

“The United States is determined to be and remain a strong security partner for Nigeria,” he said.

The United States on Tuesday night highlighted several areas of security cooperation with Nigeria, noting that it is willing to remain a strong partner.

The US also said Nigeria must invest in the “foundations of an inclusive democratic society” to address its security and economic concerns.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated these during a joint press briefing with Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, in Abuja.

“The United States is determined to be and remain a strong security partner for Nigeria,” he said.

Mr Blinken noted that he had told Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu and Mr Tuggar earlier that his country will support Nigeria as it works to bring about a more secure, more peaceful and more prosperous future for its people.

However, “fundamental to this outcome, is the investment in the foundations of an inclusive democratic society,” he said.

He urged the government to focus on equal opportunity for all – regardless of ethnicity, religion, or any other group distinction – which will in turn help build social cohesion that also deters banditry, terrorists, and violent extremism.

Mr Blinken said he shared the US’s experience in combating terrorism around the world which highlights the importance of civilian security, human rights and accountability to achieving genuine and enduring security.

The meeting also discussed challenges to democracy and security in West Africa as well as the political situation in Niger.

“We very much appreciate Nigeria’s leadership in ECOWAS to try to restore constitutional order and democracy in Niger after it’s been disrupted,” Mr Blinken said.

He further described Niger as a critical partner in trying to fight insecurity in the region while highlighting the importance of returning to constitutional rule.

Mr Blinken extended condolences to all the victims of the “horrific attacks” over the Christmas weekend. He also remembered US staff and police officers who were killed in Anambra last year.

When asked why it appeared the US is not as invested in helping Nigeria fight insecurity as it is in Europe and the Middle East, he said that was not the case.

“We are intensely focused on challenges of insecurity in the Sahel because of the impact it is having on our friends and partners; because of the broader impact that insecurity can have on all of us including the US,” Mr Blinken responded.

Even though many countries in the Sahel have turned to other partners for security including Wagner Group, the US will keep working to support its partners who are trying to find effective ways of fighting insecurity, he said.

“We are working to support Nigeria, working to support our Lake Chad region partners, to strengthen the capacity of their security forces in a whole variety of ways to deal with insecurity,” he said.

Mr Blinken also noted that equipment, technology and weapons are part of the security cooperation as well as information sharing, intelligence, technical support, and advice.

He highlighted the importance of having a comprehensive approach that genuinely focuses on citizen security, working with local communities and demonstrating that security forces are there first and foremost, to protect them and to support their needs.

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