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Terrorism: US ready to assist FG identify B’Haram sponsors –Envoy

…says both govt officials’ve met thrice in two months
Purchase of Tucano fighter jets good omen –Europe Air Force chief

In a move aimed at assisting Nigeria address its security challenges, especially the menace of the Boko Haram issue and those masterminding it, the United States has expressed its readiness to help Nigeria identify sponsors of terrorism. Recall that a former Navy Commodore and member of the Military Intelligence team in 2017, Kunle Olawunmi, had during an interview on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’, alleged that the Federal Government knew those behind the decade-long Boko Haram insurgency in the country. Olawunmi, who is a Professor of Intelligence and Global Security Studies, said: “They (government) know. Of course, it is in the news.”

Fielding questions on Monday from journalists in Abuja, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, said talks were on-going on the matter especially to unmask those sponsoring the terrorist group. Leonard, who was apparently responding to requests in some quarters that US should help Nigeria identify sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria, said: “That is something we are very eager to partner Nigeria on.” Speaking further, she said: “I have had at least three conversations in the last two months on this subject.

I won’t like to go into details.” The envoy also allayed fears that the US partnership with Nigeria might end up like that of Afghanistan, stressing that Nigeria had had a strong bilateral relationship with the US. Leonard explained that it was wrong for people to compare the two situations, saying that they were not the same. She added: “I hear people making the analogy with Afghanistan a lot, it does not match up. When you listen to what President Biden said on how troops went to Afghanistan in the first place, it was because they were in a horrible tragedy, over 3,000 Americans were killed.

“That is a different construct. The sovereign nations who have had strong bilateral relations. I don’t actually think the two match up.” Corroborating Leonard’s position, the Commander, US Air Forces in Europe, General Jeffrey Harrigian, said the purchase of Tucano fighter jets was an opportunity to cement the US relationship with Nigeria as well as curbing insecurity.

He said: “The A-29 Super Tucano gives us an opportunity to reconnect our relationship with Nigeria. It is also an opportunity to bring together the capabilities on the human side and what the A-29 brings to the nation, practically as it would contribute to bringing stability to not only Nigeria but the region.”

 

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