DESPITE the urgent need for external support for Nigeria to defeat Boko Haram, the United States (U.S.) has declared that it will not sell arms to the Federal Government.
The position of the U.S. was disclosed by the country’s Ambassador to Nigeria, James F. Entwistle.
Entwistle, who spoke in Yola Thursday in an interactive session with journalists after addressing American University of Nigeria (AUN) students and staff on his mission to Adamawa State, explained that the decision of the U.S. government not to sell arms to the country was due to what he described as massive human rights abuses by the Nigeria military.
“The U.S. government is against human rights abuse by any country in the world. So it will be ungodly for the U.S. to sell arms to Nigeria, a country that its military is notoriously known for human rights abuse. We cannot sell our arms to a country that will use our technology which is meant for defence of the helpless people to harass the helpless citizens”, he said.
On the Boko Haram’s killings in the north-eastern part of the country, he said that the crisis was getting stronger due to the political undertone and internal sabotage by the people of Nigeria.
“In the past six months it is very clear the manner Boko Haram is getting stronger that there is internal sabotage. The deadly gang has efficient military operations, the way they operate is clear that they receive military training based on the tactics they employ to operate”, he maintained.
He said that U.S. government had been training Nigeria military in different fields including information management and war tactics to improve the productivity of both the personnel and officers.
The U.S. ambassador maintained that Nigeria and his country had a good relationship and that President Barrack Obama was building a stronger friendship between the two countries for economy prosperity of Nigeria.
“President Jonathan is the only African President that has meetings twice with Obama and another meeting with Obama’s deputy. This is to show that the U.S. government has special interest to support Nigeria to grow fast. The fact that Obama is yet to visit Nigeria cannot be used as a sign that the relationship between the two countries is sour”, he stated.
Entwistle, who said that he was in Yola to monitor the aborted governorship by-election in tomorrow, pointed out that the major problem militating against the development of Nigeria
was corruption, which he said had detained the growth of both democracy and the economy of the country.
“Corruption is a huge problem in Nigeria, everybody knows about this. Corruption can be tackled in Nigeria only when there are strong institutions like the security agents, judiciary and others. Individuals should be bold to challenge public office holders on how they get money to buy big cars, build houses in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of the world. The members of the media should be courageous to put Nigerian leaders on the public scale for members of the public to judge their activities in office”, he said.
On the 2015 general elections, the U.S. ambassador insisted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must fashion out modalities that could allow the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to vote.
“It will be constitutionally wrong for INEC to deny these people from voting, if they are excluded from the election it means the election result cannot be credible because some Nigerians are denied their rights to vote. The power of any individual is his rights to vote for the leader of his choice, if you deny him that right, you have taken away his power to question or caution the person in office. So it is very important for INEC to include the IDPs in the 2015 general elections”, he maintained.
Entwistle, who rated the American University of Nigeria, Yola as among the best institutions in the world, noted that the school would contribute to the fast development of the country and other African countries.