United States Back Amnesty for Boko Haram
The Political Counsellor at the Embassy of the USA, Gregory Lawless, said on Wednesday in Abuja that the American government would support amnesty for Boko Haram if it was the solution to ending violence in the north and other parts of the country.
“We think it is a positive development. We will work with Nigerian government as it develops its own policy approach as to counter violent extremism,” Lawless said in a response to a question about the US position on the amnesty the Nigerian government was planning to grant the Islamic sect at a teleconference on US-Nigerian Binational Commission.
He added, “Security concerns in Nigeria would be addressed through our regional security cooperation working group as part of the Bi-National Commission.
“We are looking at a holistic approach to address the unmet grievances of the population, especially in the north.
“Through that mechanism, we think by broadening the scope of response to violent extremism, we believe that we will be addressing some of those issues in a more fundamental way.”
Counting the successes achieved so far by the bi-national commission, Lawless said the two countries had agreed to explore a partnership with the Nigerian Army to build its civil affairs capacity and to build trust between Nigeria’s citizens and the military.
He added, “We agreed to collaborate further to build on Nigeria’s amnesty programme by advancing economic development and environmental protection of the Delta. We also committed to partner with Nigeria to enhance regional maritime security and to reduce the inflow of small arms and light weapons”.
On regional security cooperation, Lawless said, “We provided lessons learned from our post-September 11 experiences in an effort to strengthen Nigeria’s community engagement and strategic communications efforts. We offered to help Nigeria develop an intelligence fusion centre to improve their intelligence, analysis, and dissemination efforts, although Nigerian officials are still deciding their scope and mission requirements for such a centre.”
The U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission is a high-level forum for advancing issues of mutual concern.
Inaugurated in April 2010 by the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Yayale Ahmed, the Commission’s five working groups meet regularly to focus and deepen engagement on issues concerning governance, energy, security, agriculture, and the Niger Delta.
The Working Groups include, Good Governance; Transparency and Integrity; Regional Security Cooperation; Energy and Investment; Food Security and Agriculture, as well as the Niger Delta.
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