Nigeria to strengthen ties with US

Timothy Choji, Abuja

Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (centre) with General Thomas-D.-Waldhauser, Commander-of-the-US-African-Command-AFRICOM (second left) and some US diplomats.

Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo says the time has come for both Nigeria and the United States to deepen the long-standing relationship between them, based on mutual trust.

Professor Osinbajo made the statement at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while receiving the Commander of the US-Africa Command, General Thomas Waldhauser and the American Ambassador in Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington.

“We will be very open and willing to build a relationship based on trust, so that we would benefit from it and of course our relationship as nations would benefit tremendously from it,” the Acting President stated.

Appreciation and support
He noted that Nigeria’s relationship with the US is a very important one, stressing that the Nigerian government is appreciative of US support over the last few years.

According to him, it is the belief of the Buhari Presidency that the United States is committed to helping Nigeria address some of its challenges especially in the Northeast, explaining also that issues around human rights concerns in the country should be viewed against the context of an unusual kind of warfare with terrorists and insurgents.

“The kind of warfare we are engaged with in many ways is unprecedented for our military. The sheer brutality and mindlessness of terrorists who are prepared to kill children in their sleep, abduct girls and are prepared to die, even using teenage girls as suicide bombers is a serious issue,” he stated.

Professor Osinbajo restated the readiness of the Buhari administration to conclusively end the problem as quickly as possible, as he referred to attacks by remnants and splinter groups from the terrorists, whom he said can no longer launch military attacks.

Professor Yemi Osinbajo in handshake with General Thomas D. Waldhauser.

More corporation
He said that Nigeria will welcome more US military cooperation and also assistance in dealing with the consequent humanitarian situation in the North-East.

“The US has been a reliable partner we can trust, especially from what the US has done in the past, we want to see how much more you can do for us and the region,” Professor Osinbajo said.

In his remarks, the head of the US Africa Command, General Waldhauser expressed the readiness of the US government to accelerate its contributions, adding that there is a sense that “we want to get on and solve the problem.”

He noted that his visit to Nigeria at this time is about developing further the friendship and trust that the Nigeria and the US have in common.

Also speaking, the American Ambassador in Nigeria, Mr. Symington said he had just concluded a visit to all the geo-political zones of the country and has concluded that “Nigeria is one of the greatest countries in the world with the potential to change the world.”