October 16, 2014

US denies reports on refusal to sell arms to Nigeria

US denies reports on refusal to sell arms to Nigeria

*Jonathan and Obama

By Jonah Nwokpoku

The United States of America’s envoy to Nigeria, Ambassador James Entwistle, has denied reports that the US has refused to sell arms to Nigeria on account of human rights violation in the fight against insurgency in the country.

US President Barack Obamar) talks with President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria before their bilateral meeting in New York on September 23, 2013 on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly. AFP Photo

Entwistle, who was speaking as a guest at the Diplomatic Dialogue Series organised by the Nigeria Leadership Initiative, NLI said the US has not cut off Nigeria militarily and that the two countries continue to enjoy healthy military relationship.

He insisted that his remark on arms sale to Nigeria recently was misrepresented and that there was never a time he said the US will not sell arms to Nigeria on account of human rights violations.

According to him, “Nigeria and the US have a military relationship that continues. We look at every aspect of that relationship very carefully in the context of our policy, Nigeria policy including human rights. This is a process that we undergo with every country in the world. But we have a rich military relationship with Nigeria that continues even as I speak.

“Let me be clear, the United States wants Nigeria to win its war on terror and we are here to support the effort. Security is a critical dimension of our bilateral relationship. As friends and partners, we provide support in the form of equipment and training, but we also share our own lessons learned in combating terrorism.”

He further explained: “Over the past decade, the U.S has learned that defeating terrorism requires more than just military power. It requires protecting civilian populations despite the fact that terrorists don’t. It requires working to develop impoverished areas where extremism takes root. It requires ensuring that education is accessible to all. It requires empowering a free and fair press to report openly and without fear of reprisal.

”And, perhaps, most importantly, it requires engaging the growing youth populations that are being swayed towards extremism due to lack of economic opportunities, education, and distrust of government. In other words, it requires a comprehensive, whole of government approach. The work we are doing with the Nigerian government and people addresses these needs.”