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Thursday, February 22, 2024

What Nigeria must do to address insecurity and economic challenges

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On Tuesday night, the United States highlighted several areas of security cooperation with Nigeria and signaled its willingness to remain a strong partner.

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

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This was stated by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a joint press conference with Nigerian Foreign Minister Yusuf Tuggar in Abuja.

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

Blinken noted that he had previously told Nigerian President Bola Tinubu and Tuggar that his country will support Nigeria in its efforts to achieve a safer, more peaceful and more prosperous future for its people.

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However, “for this result it is essential to invest in the foundations of an inclusive democratic society,” he said.

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

Blinken said he shared the United States’ experience in fighting terrorism around the world, highlighting the importance of civil security, human rights and accountability to achieve genuine and lasting security.

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

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

Furthermore, he described Niger as a critical partner in the attempt to fight insecurity in the region, while highlighting the importance of returning to constitutional rule.

Blinken expressed his condolences to all victims of the “horrible attacks” over Christmas weekend. He also remembered the American police personnel and officers who were killed in Anambra last year.

When asked why it seemed that the United States was not as interested in helping Nigeria combat insecurity as in Europe and the Middle East, he said that was not the case.

READ ALSO: Tinubu meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on tour of Africa

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

Although many Sahel countries have turned to other partners for security, including the Wagner Group, the United States will continue to work to support its partners who are trying to find effective ways to combat insecurity, he said.

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

Blinken also noted that equipment, technology and weapons are part of security cooperation, as well as the exchange of information, 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 support their needs.

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