•US Gives Nigeria Conditions For Support
Tony Ailemen, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in far away United States gave reasons for the delay in the appointment of ministers. Writing in The Washington Post a few hours after he and his delegation touched down in the United States for his maiden visit, Buhari said he needed to put some rules and standard in place before making the appointments.
He said: ‘It would neither be prudent nor serve the interests of sound government to have made these [cabinet] appointments immediately on my elevation to the presidency; instead, Nigeria must first put new rules of conduct and good governance in place.
I cannot stress how important it is to ensure that this process is carried out correctly, just as it has been crucial to first install the correct leadership of the military and security services before we fully take the fight to Boko Haram.’
Meanwhile appointment of seasoned technocrats, military option backed by strong socio-economic programmes in the fight against terrorism and the building of corruption free and strong institutions are some of the conditions for American support according to Vice-President Joe Biden in his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday.
Buhari commenced his official engagements in the U.S. A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, noted that President Buhari’s first engagement was a breakfast meeting hosted by American Vice -President, Joe Biden, which afforded both leaders the opportunity to compare notes on the war on terror war.
The American Vice- President used the opportunity of the breakfast meeting to also counsel Nigeria on measures to deal with the nation’s insurgency war. Terrorists had besieged America on September 2001, killing hundreds in a massive attack on World Trade Center, while Nigeria battles the Boko Haram sect causing carnage in the North-eastern part of the country.
At the meeting, which held at the Naval Observatory, official residence of the American Vice- President, Biden was said to have shared with his guest what the U.S had learnt from the terror war on the country’s soil.
The American Vice -President noted that victory against terror cannot come from military option alone, adding that “this must be combined with strong socio-economic support programmes”.
Biden who also promised that the U.S would work with Nigeria to establish strong social and economic infrastructure to deal with the issue, also assured of the goodwill of the United States in rebuilding the Nigerian economy.
Giving conditions for continued support for Nigeria, the U.S. Vice President said “corruption and weak institutions must be tackled, if Nigeria was to benefit from the proposed American reforms”. He also insisted, “seasoned technocrats must manage key sectors of the Nigerian economy, and only then would investors be attracted to the country”.
The American Vice-President while also congratulating President Buhari on his victory at the March 2015 elections, said “it was obvious that the President enjoys the confidence of the Nigerian people.” In his response, President Buhari thanked the U.S for standing by Nigeria in the run up to general elections early this year.
He however noted that the visit of the Secretary of State, John Kerry, was critical as it sent home the message that America would not brook the subversion of the people’s will.
Speaking on oil theft, President Buhari put estimated losses at between 10 and 20 billion dollars, stressing that such income could have been deployed with salutary impact on various spheres of national life like education and healthcare, among others. Both America and Nigeria pledged renewed commitment to work as partners at the very insightful meeting.