US urges action on rights abuse for closer Nigerian ties

LAGOS, NIGERIA– The United States government on Monday urged Nigeria to probe human rights abuses in the fight against Boko Haram, as it pledged more funds to help with recovery from years of conflict.

John Sullivan, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State said “transparent and credible” inquiries into violations and prosecutions are needed to help heal wounds in the battle-scarred region.

“This is essential to deepening the people’s trust of the government, strengthening security efforts in the northeast and improving the United States’ ability to partner with Nigeria,” he said during a visit to Abuja.

According to sources, Nigerian troops, over the years, have been accused of abuses in favor Boko Haram suspects and civilians, including arbitrary arrest, torture, and extra-judicial killings.

Although the West Africa state of has consistently denied claims but concern about the army’s record has limited direct foreign involvement in the fight-back against the jihadists.

A $593-million (503-million-euro) deal agreed under the Obama administration to sell Nigeria 12 Super Tucano A-29 ground attack aircraft was announced in May 2016.

Analysts and commentators day the deal was halted after at least 112 people displaced by the conflict in northeast Nigeria.

The State Department finally approved the sale in August.

With US troops have been providing help to Nigerian and regional forces fighting Boko Haram, running an unmanned surveillance drone operation from a base in northern Cameroon.

A top former Obama’s  office said the State Department finally approved the sale in August, the most senior Trump administration official to visit Nigeria this year — said the US was “committed to helping the Nigerian people provide their own security” but said military might alone be not enough.

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Blama G. Konuwah

Blama G. Konuwah resides in Vancouver, Canada. He is a public issues analyst and senior contributor to Globe Afrique.

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