The designation of Boko Haram and Ansaru as foreign terrorist organisations by the U.S. should not affect Nigerians travelling to that country for legitimate engagements, Vice President Namadi Sambo said.
Sambo made the disclosure on Wednesday in Abuja when he received a senior U.S. delegation, led by Amb. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs.
He expressed the hope that such designation would provide more opportunities for cooperation between Nigeria and the U.S. in the quest for government to end the insurgency in Nigeria.
The vice president, however, cautioned that the designation should not affect Nigerian citizens travelling to the U.S. on legitimate engagements.
He assured the delegation that the Federal Government was doing everything possible to urgently bring to an end the security challenges in the North-eastern part of the country.
The vice president added that apart from the military action, other measures were being taken to address the socio-economic situation in the affected areas.
According to him, Nigerians are in full support of the actions government has been taking to end the insurgency.
He told the delegation that President Goodluck Jonathan had directed strict compliance of the rule of engagement and human rights in efforts to curb the activities of the insurgents.
The rule of law remained the cardinal principle of the administration’s Transformation Agenda, he stressed.
He intimated the delegation on the developmental strides the government was making to reposition the socio-economic status of Nigerians.
Sambo thanked U.S. President Barack Obama for the Power in Africa Initiative, and for making Nigeria a beneficiary.
The leader of the delegation, Thomas-Greenfield, said the team was in the country to follow up on discussions held between Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Barack Obama in New York in September.
She said the delegation was also following up on deliberations held during the Nigeria-U.S. Bi-National Commission in August.
She said the U.S. and Nigeria had very fruitful partnerships in their relations, stressing that the U.S. was in support of Federal Government’s efforts toward surmounting the security challenges posed by insurgents in the country.
Thomas-Greenfield said the designation of Boko Haram and Ansaru as foreign terrorist organisations had given the U.S. the opportunity to support Nigeria in tackling the security challenges posed by the insurgents.
She said part of the delegation’s reason for the visit was to work out a counter-insurgency programme with relevant stakeholders and to share information on various aspects of security, including maritime security, so as to help in solving the security challenges.
Other members of the delegation who spoke commended Nigeria for the achievements in the areas of agriculture, education and power supply.
They particularly noted the success achieved in the energy privatisation sector, saying Nigeria was a role model to the world.
They further congratulated Nigeria for the choice of the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina as “Forbes Man of the Year”.
The U.S. delegation comprised of the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, the Commander, U.S. Africa Command, Gen. David Rodriguez, Mr Grant Harris, Ms Amanda Dory, Mr Earl Gast and Mr Gregory Lawless. (NAN)