The U.S. delegation was led by an Assistant Secretary of States.
The Federal Government has asked the United States not to let the recent designation of Boko Haram and Ansaru as Foreign Terrorist Organisations by the U.S. affect Nigerians travelling to that country for legitimate engagements.
The Vice President, Namadi Sambo, stated this on Wednesday when he received a U.S. delegation led by the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, at the State House, Abuja.
Mr. Sambo expressed the hope that such designation would avail more opportunities for cooperation between Nigeria and the U.S. in the quest to end the insurgency in the northern part of the country.
He assured the delegation that the Federal Government was doing everything possible to restore peace to the most affected north-eastern part of the country; stressing that apart from the military action, other measures were being taken to address the socio-economic situation in that area. He also noted that Nigerians are in full support of the actions government was taking to end the insurgency.
The Vice President informed the delegation that President Goodluck Jonathan had directed the strict compliance of the rule of engagement and human rights in the efforts to curb the activities of the insurgents. He said the rule of law still remains the cardinal principle of the administration’s Transformation Agenda.
Mr. Sambo thanked President Barack Obama for the Power in Africa Initiative, and for making Nigeria a beneficiary.
The leader of the American delegation, Mr. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said that they were in the country to follow up on the discussions held between Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Barack Obama in New York in September, and also on the discussions between Vice President Sambo and his counterpart, Joe Biden, of the United States. She added that they were also following up on the deliberations made during the Nigeria-U.S. Bi-National Commission held in August.
She noted that the United States and Nigeria have had very fruitful partnerships in their relations, adding that the U.S. was very much in support of the efforts of the Nigerian Government in surmounting the security challenges posed by insurgents in the country.
The Assistant Secretary stated that the designation of Boko Haram and Ansaru as Foreign Terrorist Organisations gives the U.S. the opportunity to support Nigeria in tackling the security challenges posed by insurgents. She said that part of their visit was aimed at working out a counter-insurgency programme with the relevant stakeholders and to share information on various aspects of security, including maritime security so as to help in solving the security challenges.
She also stated that this meeting is one step in the long term dialogue that the US would have with Nigeria. She appreciated the opportunity to have the dialogue and looked forward to the continuation of such.
Other members of the delegation who spoke commended Nigeria for her achievements in the areas of agriculture, education and power supply, particularly noting the success achieved in the energy privatisation sector, saying that Nigeria was a role model to the world. They further congratulated Nigeria for the selection of Agriculture Minister, Akinwumi Adesina, as the Forbes man of the year in Africa.
The U.S. delegation comprised the Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle; Commander, U.S. Africa Command, General David Rodriguez; Grant Harris, Amanda Dory, Earl Gast and Gregory Lawless.
Present at the meeting on the Nigerian side were the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri; the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar; the Supervising Minister of National Planning, Bashir Yuguda; and the Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S., Adebowale Adefuye, among other top government functionaries.