U.S. To Lift Arms Embargo On Nigeria Under Leahy Law
Apparently impressed by the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s commitment to professionalism in the military, the United States has commenced the process of lifting the military assistance restriction imposed on Nigeria.
Under the Leahy Law, U.S. Departments of State and Defence are prohibited from providing military assistance to countries considered to be violating human rights with impunity.
The Leahy Law was invoked on Nigeria during the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, which was seen to have failed to investigate various allegations of gross violation of human rights by the military.
Speaking with newsmen after a closed door meeting with the Service Chiefs in Abuja on Monday, United States congressman, Darrel Issah, hinted that the arms embargoes would soon be relaxed.
According to him, “There were a number of things that were discussed at the meeting but basically the need for additional technical support including overhead surveillance. This was discussed because it is important in the fight against Boko Haram.
“This is because of the trust in the new regime which has begun the process of ensuring that the military’s professionalism in the battle field is made in a way that we all can be confident that the rule of law is followed.
“Following this development, we have begun the process of lifting restriction under the Leahy Law but the vast majority of the support U.S. provides will be given regardless of the restrictions.
“We are looking forward to working with the President and the military to rebuild the confidence of the people of Nigeria in the professionalism of the military.
“To make the military something that the people will rely on as the nation tries to clear insurgents and protect the civilians; that are important to the new President of Nigeria, our president and it is also important to the congress.
“But we are looking forward to a great difference in the relationship, a proactive relationship and one in which we can provide a greater level of support”.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Ismaila Aliyu, “The U.S. believes in Nigeria, they have trust and confidence in Nigeria, that is why they are here.
“On the issue of human rights, the U.S. is pleased with what we have been doing in recent times to address the gaps that may have existed in the past.
“This visit is a follow up to Mr. President’s visit to the U.S., we have said it and will continue to state that the visit was of great benefit to Nigeria, it has rekindled confidence in the relations between the two countries”.