The United States Government on Friday reaffirmed its commitment to partner with Nigeria to defeat Boko Haram and rebuild communities devastated by the dreaded insurgents.
The country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Samantha Power, made the pledge in Yola, Adamawa State, while addressing a town hall meeting at the American University of Nigeria, AUN.
Mrs. Power said she led a delegation of top U.S. military, intelligence, business and diplomatic corps to consult with the leadership of Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad on ways of ending insurgency in the region.
She described Boko Haram as the world’s most ruthless terror group, saying the massacre of scores of children in Nigeria’s Northeast showed the group’s level of wickedness.
“The military must play a key role in ending Boko Haram not only by driving terrorists out the territories but train its various units to prevent terrorists from retaking territories that we liberated,” she said.
“Boko Haram moves back and forth, they respect no boundaries and so we have to coordinate the different military in the region to be able to fight them.
“As the military engages Boko Haram, it is important that they respect human right so they preserve and earn trust from the public.
“This is something we have discussed in Cameroon, Chad and yesterday with President Muhammadu Buhari. All the governments that are involved in the war against terrorism must respect human rights.
“This is the only way they can tell soldiers that they will be consequences for violating the rights of people.”
Answering questions from PREMIUM TIMES, Mrs. Power said the United State has been training and equipping units of the Nigerian military that have not been involved in human rights violation and promised to sustain the programme.
She commended the AUN President, Margee Ensign, the faculty and students of the university for what she described as the “extraordinary work they are doing” with internally displaced persons.
She said the AUN has created a community development model that should be copied by other universities and groups around the globe, saying the institution has given hope and a means of sustenance to the displaced persons from the region.
“What you are doing here is a model of what universities in Nigeria and the world should be doing,” she said.
Also speaking, Mrs. Ensign said it was reassuring that the university had the attention of the American government as it initiates measures at rebuilding of lives and livelihoods in the region devastated by terror.
“It is our hope that the experience of the American University of Nigeria, which has been on the front lines of this humanitarian crisis for close to three years now, can be of use to the government of the United States as its leads an international effort to help Nigeria and its people recover from this tragedy,” Mrs. Ensign said.
“With our friends and partners from Adamawa Peace Initiate, we have been feeding and sheltering hundreds of thousands of those in flight from the violence to our North.
“We are proud that Yola has emerged from these trying times as a beacon of hope, harmony ad cooperation for our region, for Nigeria and all of Africa,” she said.
“We are proud of our faculty and staff and especially our students who have learned how to foster peace by fostering peace. They represent a new generation of African youth who are being educated to face the future with courage, with hope and with the invaluable experience of having faced down intractable problems.”