U.S.: we’ll bring insurgents to justice

The United States Department of State yesterday said it would support the Federal Government to bring to book the abductors of the Chibok girls.

The Department of State, in a factsheet released by theOffice of its Spokesperson in Washington, DC, quoted the Secretary of State John Kerry as saying: “The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime, and we will do everything possible to support the Nigerian Government to return these young women to their homes and to hold the perpetrators to justice. I will tell you, my friends, I have seen this scourge of terror across the planet, and so have you. They don’t offer anything except violence. They don’t offer a health care plan, they don’t offer schools. They don’t tell you how to build a nation; they don’t talk about how they will provide jobs. They just tell people, “You have to behave the way we tell you to,” and they will punish you if you don’t.”

Nigeria, it said, is a key strategic partner in Africa. It added that the country has the continent’s largest population and largest economy, and it plays a vital role in efforts to resolve crises and promote stability and prosperity in West Africa and beyond.

It observed that in the midst of rapid economic growth, the country faces security challenges, notably Boko Haram , which it described as “a violent Islamist movement that has staged regular attacks in northern Nigeria since 2010.”

It revealed that Nigeria would join the United States as one of the founding members of the International Institute on Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ), which would open its doors in June 2014 in Malta, and provide rule of law-based training on how to counter terrorism and other transnational criminal activity within a rule of law framework.

“As a founding member, Nigeria will be expected to ensure its police, prosecutors, and prison officials are regular participants in IIJ trainings.”

The factsheet also explained that the State Department’s Counterterrorism Finance (CTF) programme provides training aimed at restricting Boko Haram’s ability to raise, move, and store money.

“CTF’s current focus provides Nigeria with cross border financial investigations training to work effectively with counterparts in neighboring countries on critical CTF cases,” it said.

The factsheet noted that given the country’s importance as a regional political and economic leader, the U.S. has a vital interest in helping to strengthen its democratic institutions, boost its prosperity and security and ensure opportunity for all of its citizens.

The factsheet reads: “The U.S. and Nigeria also work closely together in multilateral fora, including the UN Security Council, where Nigeria is serving a term as a non-permanent member for 2014-2015.

“As the President noted in his National Defense University speech in May 2013, countering terrorism requires a holistic approach. We continue to work with Nigeria and other international partners to help promote and support such an approach to Boko Haram. The United States has been working to counter BH for many years, and we will continue to do so.”

On the counterterrorism assistance to the country, the factsheet noted: “Counterterrorism support to Nigeria focuses on building critical counterterrorism capabilities among Nigeria’s civilian and law enforcement agencies. This supports the larger U.S. objective of encouraging Nigeria to develop and implement a comprehensive approach to counter BH that upholds and enforces the rule of law, provides civilian protection, respects human rights and international norms, and addresses the underlying grievances that BH exploits (including through development gains and through responsive governance).

“Based on our longstanding concerns about Boko Haram, we have a robust security dialogue and assistance relationship with Nigeria. As part of the Bi-National Commission Framework, we hold regular Regional Security working group meetings focused on the Boko Haram threat and ways our two governments can collaborate on a holistic approach to countering the group.

“Our security assistance is in line with our efforts to ensure Nigeria takes a comprehensive approach to countering Boko Haram. We are working to build Nigerian law enforcement capacities to investigate terrorism cases, effectively deal with explosive devices, and secure Nigeria’s borders, while underscoring that the most effective counterterrorism policies and practices are those that respect human rights and are underpinned by the rule of law. We are also focused on enabling various Nigerian security services with fusing multiple information streams to develop a better understanding of Boko Haram. Our military assistance supports the professionalisation of key military units and improves their ability to plan and implement appropriate steps to counter Boko Haram and ensure civilian security.”

The U.S. said its Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) programme enhances law enforcement agencies’ capability to prevent, detect, and investigate terrorism threats; secure Nigeria’s borders; and manage responses to terrorist incidents.

“ATA’s primary partners are the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Customs Service, Immigration Service, and National Emergency Management Agency. ATA represents the only donor assistance to Nigerian law enforcement on identifying, diffusing, and the safe disposal of improvised explosives devices (IEDs). ATA curriculum has been integrated into NPF training curriculum, supporting its ability to respond to IED attacks in Abuja and to deploy to the northeast part of the country where Boko Haram attacks are the most frequent.

“Countering violent extremism (CVE) programmes aim to limit recruits to BH by reducing sympathy and support for its operations, through three primary objectives: (1) building resilience among communities most at risk of recruitment and radicalization to violence; (2) countering BH narratives and messaging; and building the CVE capacity of government and civil society. Such efforts include promoting engagement between law enforcement and citizens, and elevating the role of women civil society leaders in CVE,” it said.

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