The United States and Nigeria said they will address the Boko Haram onslaught and Niger Delta issues under their bi-national commission.
Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the regional security cooperation working group under the Nigeria, USA Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Abuja yesterday, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary, Mr. William Fitzgerald said that the security situation in the northern part of Nigeria has reached a significant dimension.
At the meeting which held at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Abuja, US military and intelligence officials were led by Fitzgerald, while the Nigerian side was led by the Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Amb. Martins Uhomoibhi with the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Gen. Andrew Azazi in attendance.“Today marks a new beginning, security issues in the North have taken up new significance, so we have chosen to split the regional security cooperation and the Niger Delta. The regional security cooperation has its own working group which is meeting on Monday and Tuesday respectively.
“To address the Boko Haram onslaught, the regional security cooperation has been splitted with one part to focus on the terrorism in the northern part of the country and the other on the Niger Delta issues,” Fitzgerald said.
While condoling with Nigerians on the heinous attacks that took place during the past few days in Kano and Bauchi states, he said, “we deplore swiftly the reign of terror that has existed in the north of the country for many months. And we stand with you to work together to find a way to bring peace to the region.”
He also reiterated the commitments of the US government to assisting Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies and urged the National Assembly to pass a strong Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that will ensure transparency in the oil and gas sector.
In his remarks, Ambassador Martins Uhomoibhi said the meeting between the two countries is based on mutual respect and understanding.
“To us as Nigerians, we do consider it as the basis for developing very close relations based on the implementation of specific programmes in such areas as agriculture, food security, good governance, power, energy and general security issues,” he stated.