The US Deputy Secretary of State, Mr Antony Blinken, has described Nigeria as a major leader in the fight against terrorism.
Mr Blinken, who is already in Nigeria ahead of Saturday’s Security Summit to be hosted by President Muhammadu Buhari, disclosed this while answering questions from State House Correspondents, after paying a courtesy visit on Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
“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,” Mr Blinken said.
He said the relationship between Nigeria and the United States, since President Buhari emerged, had grown.
“I appreciate the Vice President’s hospitality and indeed the hospitality of the entire Nigerian government. 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 United States grow deeper and stronger,” he stated.
Commenting on the return of the Chibok Girls, he said: “We have been focused on this from day one, doing whatever we can to provide all the assistance and information that we can develop. This is something that has personally touched so many people in the United States, including President Obama and his family and so it’s 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 used the opportunity to commend Nigeria’s stand against corruption at the just concluded summit in the UK, describing Nigeria as the torch bearer in the fight against the vice.
“Corruption is like cancer eating its way at countries around the world today and Nigeria is now showing the way of dealing with this problem. That’s exactly what President Buhari demonstrated in London,” he said.
Mr Antony Blinken pledged that his country would assist Nigeria to repatriate any stolen money it discovers in the US.