• Osinbajo seeks further help to fight terrorism
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Nigeria has been described as an important nation that is very strategic, not only to Africa but to the whole world while her success determines Africa’s success in the social political and economic emancipation of the continent of Africa.
The Commander of the United States African Command (AFRICOM), General Thomas Waldhauser, said this when he paid a courtesy call on the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, at Defence Headquarters, Abuja.
General Waldhauser said he was happy with the level of warm cordial relationship between the US and Nigeria.
He pointed out that the US would do all that is needed and necessary to make Nigeria succeed in its leadership role in Africa, especially in its untiring effort at wiping terrorism from Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
The Commander, AFRICOM stated that his country was committed to maintaining productive and fruitful relationship with Nigeria by stepping up her assistance in the areas of training, intelligence sharing, capacity building and hardware.
In his remarks, the CDS, General Olonisakin, expressed appreciation to the US government for its tremendous contributions to the armed forces of Nigeria in the fight against insurgency and other sundry crimes across the country.
He stressed that the US has been forthcoming in manpower training, equipment support, upgrading of Special Forces, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and other relevant areas as required by the Nigerian Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
The AFRICOM Commander was accompanied by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington, US Defence Attachee to Nigeria, Colonel Patrick Doyle and some senior staff of US Embassy, while the CDS was assisted by the representatives of the Service Chiefs and Principal Staff Officers from the Defence Headquarters.
In related development, the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has appealed to the United States to give more help to Nigeria in the fight against terrorism.
He said the time has come for both Nigeria and the US to deepen the long-standing relationship between the countries based on mutual trust.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, said Osinbajo spoke yesterday at the Presidential Villa while receiving the Commander of the US-Africa Command, General Waldhauser, and the US Ambassador in Nigeria, Mr. W. 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.
Nigeria’s relationship with the US, he observed, remained very important one “and has been so for many years, even so now at a time like this for us,” he added.
He said the federal government appreciated US’ support over the last few years.
According to him, it is the belief of the federal government that the United States is committed to helping Nigeria with some of the challenges especially in the North-east.
While emphasising the support of the US so far, he stated that the federal government would welcome more US military cooperation and also assistance in dealing with the humanitarian situation in the North-east.
He also said 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 are unprecedented for our military,” the acting. president said.
He said the Boko Haram terrorists were brutal and mindless and were “prepared to kill children in their sleep, abduct girls and prepared to die, even using teenage girls as suicide bombers.”
He restated the readiness of government to conclusively end the problem “as quickly as possible.”
While acknowledging attacks by remnants and splinter groups among the terrorists, Osinbajo noted that nonetheless the terrorists could no longer launch military attacks.
He said: “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.”
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 was a sense that “we want to get on and solve the problem.”
He said that his visit to Nigeria at this time was to further deepen “the friendship and trust that we have in common,”
Also speaking, Ambassador 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.”