THE United States has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to fulfil his promises to implement developmental projects in the troubled states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in order to curb Boko Haram insurgency in the region.
The three states have been under the emergency rule since May.
US Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, Samantha Power, who said this in her opening remarks at a meeting with some civil society organisations in Abuja on Wednesday, also expressed worry about what she called uncoordinated security crackdown on Boko Haram members.
This, she noted, had resulted in loss of lives of many innocent people.
She said, “The United States is concerned by some of the stories we hear of inhumane detention practices in Nigeria, and I have discussed this with officials here.
Security crackdowns that do not discriminate between legitimate targets and innocent civilians are both counterproductive and wrong.
“We know how hard it is to fight insurgency and terrorism, but we have also seen how much more effective we are when we put the welfare of the local population at the heart of our efforts.”
The envoy, who regretted that the US and Nigeria had been targets of terrorists, said the Nigerian government must implement policies that would help lay a foundation for longer term progress.
“I was pleased to hear President Jonathan’s announcement earlier this month of his development plan for the North-East. Efforts to fight poverty, create jobs, and respect the dignity and rights of all people would help lay a foundation for longer term progress. My government will be urging President Jonathan to fulfil his commitment to implement his plan as soon as possible,” she said.
Power said the meeting was called to have a candid conversation with civil society organisations to know the challenges confronting them in promoting free, fair, and transparent elections, fighting corruption, advancing responsible, effective, and rights-respecting approaches to insecurity.
She observed that the US and Nigeria shared much in common because they “both have vibrant civil societies, whose promotion of civic engagement was key to advancing important reforms and making government accountable to its citizens.
Power said, “In Nigeria, civil society organisations like yours have tirelessly advocated for increasing the credibility of elections and citizens’ participation in the electoral process, which is so vital for any democracy. You all have also worked to highlight the impact of poor governance and public corruption on the average Nigerian citizen who wants to contribute meaningfully to society.
“Tragically, we have both been targeted by terrorists. The brutality of the attacks against your people is shocking. In responding to these attacks, it is essential that we do so consistent with the most fundamental of international human rights norms.”
She said efforts of the civil society could help Nigeria to empower women, create new opportunities for young people, expose and curb corruption, strengthen democratic institutions, and ensure that the electoral process became free and fair.
Expressing the US concern over the irregularities in last month’s governorship election in Anambra State, Power said her country would follow closely the next governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states.
“The 2015 election will draw global attention and can – if you push hard enough – prove a model for all of Africa, if they are free, fair, and transparent,” she added.