During a virtual roundtable with Kenyan and Nigerian journalists, the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, described the security challenges facing Nigeria as extraordinary.
While responding to a question on how the US could assist Nigeria to tackle the security challenges posed by Boko Haram, bandits and IPOB, Blinken said, “It is fair to say that the challenges that Nigeria faces when it comes to security are quite extraordinary – and you referenced them – whether it’s terrorism, whether it’s banditry and criminality, whether it’s piracy. All of these are real challenges.
“One, we are in absolute solidarity between us in trying to address these challenges together. And the United States is committed to supporting Nigeria as it meets these challenges. And what that involves primarily is helping Nigeria continue to build its capacity through training, through resources, through information sharing, through equipment, and all of that done, very importantly, with full respect for human rights.
“But it’s also important that we work together, as we are, to address some of the drivers or facilitators of violence and instability that we know those engaged in these activities can sometimes feed on. And that’s why you have to have a comprehensive approach to these challenges. It’s not – the security piece is vitally important, but it’s insufficient, and so economic development, progress, opportunity is hugely important.”
Blinken also advised countries battling security challenges to deal with the root causes of insecurity in their region.
He noted that, one of the things that’s striking, is the erosion Lake Chad basin due to climate change, which can in turn produce conflict over resources, new migratory patterns that put people in conflict, food insecurity, the easier spread of disease, terrorism, criminality and other forms of violence.
He stated that we have to see the big picture, the comprehensive picture – obviously focus on the hard security collaboration that we have and strengthen that, but also not lose sight of some of the bigger pieces of this that we have to address together as well.