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Politics Designation of Boko Haram as terror organisation won’t affect Nigerians travelling to U.S – Envoy

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The Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Ms Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a joint press briefing in Abuja, said the designation of Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) would not pose any obstacle for Nigerians travelling to America.

She said Nigerians, who were not connected to the terror organisation, would not be subjected to excessive security checks.

``Designating Boko as a terrorist organisation gives tools in which the U.S government can address issues related to Boko Haram, particularly terror financing.

``I do not believe that designating Boko Haram will imply in any way more scrutiny for Nigerians who are travelling to the United States.

``Nigerians, who are not in any way connected to Boko Haram, have no reason to be concerned about this.

``We have very strict requirements to come to the U.S and those requirements are imposed on everyone.

``I even get more scrutiny when I go through the airports because of terrorism and I actually appreciate that because it protects all of us,’’ she said.

Thomas-Greenfield and the U.S AFRICOM Commander, Gen. David Rodriguez, also told reporters that the U.S had no immediate plans to send drones or troops to Nigeria.

According to the U.S officials, the option is not considered during the Nov. 13 designation of Boko Haram and its splinter, Ansaru, as FTO.

On the 2015 Nigeria elections, Thomas-Greenfield pledged the U.S continued support for strong democratic institutions in the country.

The U.S envoy, however, expressed concern that the problems associated with the just-concluded Anambra elections had raised ``concern about future elections in the country’’.

She pledged that the U.S would partner with INEC to prevent a repeat of the incident in Anambra in future elections.

The U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, said it was noteworthy and ``transparent’’ that INEC recognised its shortcomings in the Anambra elections.

``My impression is that INEC is using the Anambra election as a lesson to get ready for the next elections and that is extremely important,’’ Entwistle said.

Commenting on security issues, the AFRICOM Commander Rodriquez, said the U.S delegation discussed cooperation on mutual security concerns with Nigerian officials.

He described terrorism as a worldwide challenge, and noted that the U.S was ``happy to work with Nigerians as partners to meet that challenge.

``The strategic relationship we have with Nigeria is one of the most important one we have on the continent.

``Nigeria has been a great partner of AFRICOM as we seek more effective ways to help Africa partners and regional organisation to address security in the continent,’’ Rodriquez said.

Rodriquez added the U.S was working with Nigeria security operatives to develop their counter terrorism skills.

Earlier, the delegation, which arrived in Nigeria since Monday, met with young Nigerians to discuss the young African leader’s initiative group of President Barack Obama.
 
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