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Nigeria restates commitment to protection of human rights

The Nigerian government says it is deeply committed to the promotion of human rights in all parts of the country.

President Muhaammadu Buhari disclosed this stance of the Nigerian government at the White House, Washington DC, in his remarks at a joint press briefing with US President, Donald Trump, soon after the two leaders met behind closed doors on Monday.

He said anyone caught violating human rights in Nigeria would be prosecuted.

According to President Buhari: The Government of Nigeria remains deeply committed to the principles of human rights as well as the promotion and protection of people’s freedom, even in the process of fighting terror. We commit to ensure that all documented cases of human rights abuses are investigated and those responsible for violations held accountable for their actions.

On security, especially the lingering crisis between farmers and herders, the Nigerian leader said frantic efforts are being made to resolve the matter and end the killings associated with the crisis.

The government is taking necessary steps to promote the peaceful co-existence of herdsmen and farmers, by focusing on boosting security and enforcing legislation that will guarantee herders and farmers access to land, he said.

He commended the US for brokering peace between the two Koreas as well as decimating ISIS thus enhancing global peace and security.

We congratulated the leaders of North and South Korea on their historic summit and we applaud them for the positive commitment they have made towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. President Trump deserves a great deal of credit for his statesmanly role in transforming so dramatically the course of events in that region.

We also congratulated the US government on the important role it played in the defeat of ISIS, although some of the remnants have found their way to the Sahel region. We recognized the strong US support in our fight against terrorism and also appreciated very much the US’ agreement to sell twelve Super Tucano A-29 war planes and weapons to Nigeria to effectively fight terrorism, he said.

Stating what Nigeria is doing to end the boko haram insurgency, President Buhari said: To contain the spate of insurgency in Nigeria, the Federal government has adopted a multi-sectoral approach, involving relevant government agencies to address the socio-economic and political dimensions while the Armed Forces of Nigeria assist the civil authority to provide security and maintain law and order.

As part of efforts to address emerging cases of insurgency in the country, the Nigerian Military adopted a non-kinetic counter terrorism/counter insurgency approach code-named Operation safe corridor, to de-radicalize, re-habilitate, and re-integrate willingly surrendered Boko-Haram members into the larger society. This programme is currently embarking on a number of projects including: skill acquisition centres and integrated farms; comprising poultry, fish pond and greenhouse farming, among others.

A number of international partners, including the International Organization for Migration have contributed to the success of Operation Safe Corridor. We indicated that we would appreciate whatever support we could also get from the US.

US role

The Nigerian President thanked the US for the vital role it is playing in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of displaced persons in the North-East region of Nigeria.

President Buhari, who thanked the American government for helping Nigeria repatriate some of its funds stashed abroad, pledged to sustain the fight against corruption, to enable Nigerians enjoy more dividends of democracy.

He said: We thanked the US government very much for the cooperation we have received in our effort to recover stolen funds. Our two governments have put the machinery in place for their respective Attorneys-General to collaborate in ensuring the return to Nigeria of over five hundred million United States Dollars ($500) of looted funds siphoned away in banks around the world.

In this connection, we congratulated the US government on launching a Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative which was spearheaded by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering. We hoped that we could continue to count on US support in this area.

We expressed gratitude for US support in the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in the North East of Nigeria, as well as humanitarian assistance to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), through agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other international partners.

The USA has been to date the biggest contributor to the humanitarian response and last year gave approximately 500 million US Dollars in cash and in-kind contributions through the United Nations and other inter-governmental organizations. These have mainly supported protection activities, health, food assistance and shelter, he said.

He also said: We are doing all we can to secure the release of the remaining abducted school girls from Dapchi and Chibok. In this context, we will continue to welcome US collaboration in intelligence gathering, hostage negotiations and information-sharing.

Source: Voice of Nigeria