U.S unveils ‘comprehensive reform plan’ for Nigeria

United States is working on a ‘comprehensive reform plan’ for Nigeria as a means of strengthening democracy, security and the economy.

This plan with be unveiled during a visit by U.S Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, to Nigeria next week.

An official of the State Department, who have some details of the reform plan’ during a phone-in interactive session with journalists I. Washington DC on Friday.

Tillerson will also visit Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Chad before landing in Abuja on Tuesday March 6, 2018.

The unnamed official said a number of issues in Nigeria were of concern to the American government.

Describing the recent kisnap of 110 pupils of Government Girls Science Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State by Boko Haram as “horrendous” “unacceptable’ and “terrible,” the official said there was the need to help upgrade Nigeria’s security architecture to effectively combat insurgency and other challenges.

He said the security situation was not an isolated matter as there were other issues linked to it.

Responding to a question on whether the American government was thinking of sending troops to help Nigeria combat Boko Haram, he replied: “On Nigeria, you really raised really good points, is that – so we are following the recent kidnappings of 110 school girls, which really kind of follows up on several years ago of the Chibok girls. And those are horrendous, they’re unacceptable, terrible, and how do you do security? But the issue that comes in, it’s not only a security issue – and it is a terrible security challenge – but it’s also political issues and really building those institutions and political dialogue between north and south, and also with the region.

“And so those are some of the things that we need to look at. It’s a comprehensive approach. The other issue, too, is on economic development and education. So looking at the UN, we have fresh UN reports about some of the extremist operations in the G5 countries, the Trans-Sahel, is for some of these groups it’s not – it’s about getting jobs, it’s about looking at getting an income for families.

“And if terrorism or trafficking of persons, if that’s going to get them the jobs, then that’s unacceptable and we really need to find alternative ways to help the economic development in these regions.

“And so those are some of the issues and challenges that we’ll be working on is political institutions, political dialogue, reconciliation, supporting community-based development, helping growth, education. And then on the other hand, as you said, is the security, particularly in the north, and how do you enhance security. And it just can’t be constantly a kinetic strike operation or bring in U.S. military. That’s not the answer.

“The answer has to be developing institutions and also providing good police training, military training, and having governments accountable to the people and having people really have faith in their institutions, and also having opportunities for job creation.

“And what happens in Nigeria is going to affect the Lake Chad region, and that includes Cameroon as well as the G5 countries. So those are some of the things that we’re looking at, much more broad-based, comprehensive, and really interrelated with security.”