From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Following a meeting between a United States delegation and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja, the United States has assured Nigeria of its support in a bid to end the spate of insecurity in the country.
Visiting United States Deputy Security Advisor Jon Finer, speaking at the meeting, said the United States was willing to support Nigeria in every aspect.
‘Going forward, the security issues are very pretty; whether it is terrorism or piracy, the US can support,’ Mr Finer said.
‘You mentioned democracy. The president is very much looking forward to conveying the summit for democracy in December. The pillar of this summit is going to be issues relating to election, corruption.
‘Nigeria is not just a partner of the US, but also a friend which is much appreciated. The time that we spent and the conversations we had are very constructive and the partnership overall.
‘I will not repeat all of the minister’s briefing, but it does speak the enormous agenda that the two countries share. We talked about the pandemic and the delivery of vaccines and the next phase of this which is actually making sure that those vaccines are administered and get into peoples’ arms which is something we want to support,’ he said.
Further speaking on climate change, Finer said the United States welcomed Nigeria’s commitments to increase its ambition when it comes to climate change and we hope that it continues.
‘There are no significant issues on our mutual agenda that can be addressed without working together. So, we are committed to continuing doing that,’ Mr Finer also said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Onyeama said both countries discussed a broad range of issues.
‘We talked about the security situation of the country; banditry, Boko Haram, secessionist groups and other acts and challenges to insecurity, including that of the Gulf of Guinea and how we can cooperate with the US in addressing all the issues.
‘We assessed the situation in the Sahel beyond Nigeria, right up to Libya and how we can work closely together to address the terrorist challenges and the security situation in Nigeria,’ Onyeama said.
Further speaking on the issue of the suspension of Twitter’s operations in the country, Onyeama said: ‘We talked about the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and how that is progressing.’
Onyeama also said the issue of COVID-19 topped discussion during the meeting.
‘We talked about the COVID-19 context and the US has been very generous. Just very recently, last week, they provided again vaccines to Nigeria, 5.0 and then another vaccine of 3.5 million that were delivered to the Nigerian Government. We are grateful to the US government for this generosity,’ Onyeama added.
Onyeama further disclosed that the meeting discussed issues of democracy in Nigeria and the importance of the US to Nigeria as big democracies.
On trade, Onyeama said: ‘We talked about trade and the importance of facilitating market access to Nigeria, especially in the agricultural sector and how to fix trade between Nigeria and the US. The US has the Africa Growth Opportunities Act which facilitates and encourages market access for African countries to the US and we also looked at how this can be further strengthened and improved.
‘We also talked about consulate matters and visas; challenges that are been faced by Nigerians in terms of obtaining US visas,’ Onyeama stated.