THE United States has advised the Federal Government to adopt the Niger Delta Development Commission’s model for solving the problem of militancy in the Niger Delta to tackle insurgency in the north.
US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said this on Tuesday at a press conference on the outcome of the Nigeria-US Bi-National Commission, in Abuja.
Responding to a question on how to tackle the Boko Haram violence in the north, she said, “I think that we can learn from the Niger Delta Commission and what was done to arrest the violence that was taking place in the Niger Delta. I don’t know if the exact approach would work but I think some of the approaches that were taken in the Niger Delta could work in the north as well.”
Thomas-Greenfield said US had committed a lot of money to support the Independent National Electoral Commission in conducting a free, fair and peaceful elections in 2015 and beyond.
Although she agreed that the state of emergency declared in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno states would make it difficult for INEC to prepare for the elections in the area, the envoy said that the situation in the area was not enough reason not to allow the people to vote.
She said the US was committed to ensuring that the people voted during the 2015 elections by giving necessary support to Nigeria.
“Government has a responsibility to provide security for those people and we are working with the government,” she added.
The envoy also advocated tougher laws and commitment to fight corruption in Nigeria.
According to her, the difference in the situation in Nigeria and the US is that people are held accountable in America. She said that five out of the seven past governors of Chicago had gone to jail for corruption.
“Your laws could be tougher in dealing with corruption. There has to be a high-level commitment to deal with issues relating to corruption,” she said.
Thomas-Greenfield, however, said she could not confirm whether or not the US had made any request for the extradition of a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Buruji Kashamu.
“I’m sure there could be but I am not aware. I don’t have an answer to that,” she said.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had alleged that Kashamu was wanted by the US in connection with corruption charges, an allegation Kashamu had attributed to a mistake of identity.
The US Ambassador, Mr. James Entwistle, who was at the briefing also said he was not aware of any extradition request in respect of Kashamu.