President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday in Lagos said Nigeria was pleased with the international community’s agreement with it on the multinational task force initiative in fighting the Boko Haram insurgency.
This is contained in a statement in Abuja by Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity.
“We are pleased that the international community is now strongly united behind this initiative and agree that its success is critical.
“It is equally important that the multinational force receives the significant support that is required to address the threat through our global partners,’’ he said.
Jonathan spoke against the backdrop of his meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, in Lagos on Sunday.
He said they had a candid and constructive discussion about a broad range of issues.
“Nigeria is a vibrant democracy and the largest trading partner of the U.S. in Africa, with more than 18 billion dollars in bilateral trade.
“Our countries and peoples share a mutual admiration for each other and a deep commitment to freedom, democracy, and human rights.
“This is why we are together engaged in a struggle against a common enemy that promotes terror, fear, division, and violates human rights, most especially of women and girls, with complete impunity.
“Winning the fight against Boko Haram in Nigeria and West Africa is absolutely essential to beat back the tide of religious extremism around the world.
“Our security forces have been working tirelessly and courageously to achieve this goal.
“I reaffirmed to Kerry that Nigeria is strongly committed to building the Niger and Benin Republic under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.
“Indeed, I called publicly for such a regional approach at the African Leaders’ Summit in Paris in May 2014 and more recently at multilateral meetings,’’ President Jonathan said.
He also acknowledged that the U.S., more than any other country in the world, has the most experience fighting armed insurgencies.
“Having suffered the devastating attacks of 9/11, its people also understand the insecurity and fear that are the realities for the vast majority of peaceful, tolerant Muslims and Christians in North Eastern Nigeria.
“This is why I firmly believe that enhancing and expanding various channels of co-operation between our two countries, in the context of growing international co-ordination, are of the utmost importance.
“I discussed a number of ideas with Kerry to move such co-operation forward,’’ Jonathan said.
He expressed gratitude to the U.S. for standing with Nigeria and its people in its fight against Boko Haram.
“I reaffirmed our strong commitment to working together with the U.S. to put an end to global terrorism and particularly Boko Haram.
“Nigeria will also work to deepen and consolidate our bilateral relationship with the U.S.,’’ the President said.
Jonathan said he also assured Kerry of his deep commitment to ensuring that Nigeria’s forthcoming elections were free, fair, and credible.
He however said it was especially critical that all political parties abide by the Abuja Accord, which commits each to non-violence before, during, and after the election.
“I made it absolutely clear that the May 29th handover date is sacrosanct.
“In addition, the Government will provide all resources that are required by INEC to ensure that the election goes smoothly.
“I also emphasised that INEC is an independent body, which makes its own decisions without any interference from the Government