US pledges to block stolen Nigerian funds from American banks

James Entwistle, U.S Ambassador to Nigeria

The United States has pledged to ensure no stolen public funds from Nigeria are laundered through American banks.

The outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, said on Saturday that the Obama administration was committed to stand with Nigeria in its fight against corruption, particularly by ensuring no stolen funds are laundered through the American banking system.

Mr. Entwistle said the U.S. government has offered technical assistance to Nigeria’s anti-graft agencies for the training of investigators and prosecutors.

The diplomat, speaking at the 240th United States Independence Anniversary celebration cocktail party in Abuja, said his country looked forward to deeper cooperation with the Nigerian government to ensure freedom for Nigerians.

“Not just the political freedom you exercised last year, but freedom from fear, freedom from want, freedom from sickness, and freedom from corruption. The last election was tremendous democratic success, not only for Nigeria, but the growth of democracy across Africa.

“As you fight Boko Haram and secure and rebuild the Northeast, and you strive for harmony in the Niger Delta and across the land, we will continue to help in every appropriate way.

“Indeed, let us redouble our efforts on the humanitarian front in the Northeast. Nigerians are dying of starvation in Nigeria.

“The United States stands with every Nigerian who believes that Nigeria can be healthier, safer, and more prosperous,” he said.

On the economy, the envoy said Nigeria at the moment was headed in the right direction on issues like fuel subsidy removal and foreign exchange rate. He urged government to continue to create an environment that would attract more foreign investments.

The biggest U.S. companies in Nigeria, he said, have been here for decades. He added that it was important for government to maintain an environment that would attract more foreign investments to the country.

“As you continue privatization of the power grid, through President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, we stand ready to, among other things, help companies invest in building more electricity infrastructure, especially environmentally-friendly power generation.

“As you increase your commitment to healthcare and education, we support those efforts too,” he assured
Mr. Entwistle, who is expected to round off his role in Nigeria this month, described his stay in Nigeria as a fascinating time. He said he would be leaving with a great sense of hope and optimism, especially with a truly inspiring experience with young Nigerians.

The diplomat again declined to comment on his controversial letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, over allegations of sexual misconduct preferred against three Nigerian lawmakers while on official trip to the U.S. few months ago.

At the end of his assignment in Nigeria, Mr. Entwistle said he would be retiring from the U.S. Foreign Service at the end of the month after 35 and a half years.

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