Baga: US to send envoy to Nigeria - Gragrah News!
Headlines News :
Home » » Baga: US to send envoy to Nigeria

Baga: US to send envoy to Nigeria

Written By Joseph Y. Musa on Saturday, May 04, 2013 | 5/04/2013 10:50:00 am

The United States of America (USA) is dispatching Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour to Nigeria next week for discussion with the Federal Government on the recent incident in Baga.



State Department acting deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell said yesterday that the US envoy would also discuss broader human rights issues with Nigerian officials while here.

Local and international rights organisations, the USA and opposition parties have deplored the Baga incident in which as many as 228 people were feared killed in an alleged military operation.

The federal authorities and the military say not more than 36 people died in the incident.

The US Ambassador in Nigeria, Terrence P. McCulley, met with human rights activists in Abuja on Thursdy on the issue and was reported to have hinted that Washington DC might suspend military assistance to Nigeria, “if there is sufficient evidence of human rights violations by the armed forces in Baga and other flashpoints.”

However, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Gbenga Ashiru, yesterday denied any such plan.

Ashiru said he was in talks with the US Ambassador.

The State Department acting deputy spokesman unfolded plans by the US to send an envoy to Nigeria at the daily briefing in Washington DC.

Ventrell, in an online statement last night, said: “We will have a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour who is going to travel to Abuja to discuss the incident in Baga and broader human rights issues with senior Nigerian officials next week. So we’re going to continue our dialogue with the Nigerian authorities on this.

“Well, we have seen the Human Rights report, and as I said before, the U.S. strongly condemns the loss of life and mass destruction of dwellings in Baga, Borno State over the weekend of April 15 which is evidenced in that Human Rights Watch report. So we extend our condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims.

“And we understand that President Jonathan has called for an investigation, including ascertaining that security forces, namely the Joint Border Control Forces in the area, had adhered to the rules of engagement.

“So we urge a full investigation into these attacks, and that those responsible, both military and others, be held to account.”

Asked which version of Baga reports will the US accept, Ventrell said: “Again, we have the Human Rights Watch study – the Human Rights Watch report. We’re studying it. We’re looking at it very closely.”

On the likely suspension of military aid to Nigeria , he admitted that the US Ambassador met with some human rights stakeholders, but he said the American government will only ensure that “our assistance doesn’t go to units or officers that are involved in human rights abuses.”

Ventrell added: “I mean, again, we have a Deputy Assistant Secretary for DRL who’s going to go out there, continue to have this dialogue with the Nigerian Government.

“No, I’m saying we continue with our assistance, but we do so in a way that is very careful to make sure we’re doing our Leahy vetting requirements.

“Well, the assistance, in terms of Leahy is – in terms of specific vetting of individual units. That’s the main requirement. And so we continue to do that vetting to make sure that our assistance doesn’t go to units or officers that are involved in human rights abuses.

He debunked reports that there would be outright suspension of military aid to Nigeria

The spokesman said: “No, it’s not correct. There’s been some incorrect reporting out there. My understanding is a misreporting. I am aware and was told very clearly that from our folks on the ground that the reporting of this was mischaracterized.

“The United States works with the Nigerian military and law enforcement to improve communications, mobility and emergency response through assistance and training.

“We take our Leahy vetting obligations very seriously, and so we’ve taken strong measures to ensure compliance. But Nigeria remains an ACOTA partner that contributes significant numbers of troops to several UN peacekeeping missions in Africa, including in Mali. And so we vet all units from African countries that receive U.S. bilateral assistance.”

On his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru, who spoke with our correspondent from the US, said: “Story about US stopping military assistance to Nigeria is false. I have just concluded visit to US and met with Senator John Kerry, US Secretary of State, on April 25. He stressed that Nigeria remains a strategic partner to US.

“He vowed that US – Nigeria relations will be further strengthened in all areas of political, security, defence and economic cooperation under our Bi-National Commission. Exactly the same message was repeated at a meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister, Mr. John Baird, on May 2 in Ottawa.”
Share this article :
Blog Widget by LinkWithin

MOST READ FOR THE WEEK

 
Support : Creating Website | Johny Template | Mas Template
Proudly powered by Blogger
Copyright © 2011. Gragrah News! - All Rights Reserved
Template Design by Creating Website Published by Mas Template