Business Nigeria's development stalled by Boko Haram, US diplomat


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A senior US diplomat on Thursday before bilateral security talks reiterated that the insurgent group, Boko Haram, has hindered Nigeria’s development and has inflamed ethnic tension within the country and its neighbours.

According to US under-secretary of state for political affairs, Wendy Sherman, the United State was ready to support Nigeria in developing a multi-faceted strategy to contain the violence.

The Boko Haram conflict has “increased tensions between various ethnic communities, interrupted development activities, frightened off investors and generated concerns among Nigeria’s northern neighbours,” Sherman said.

She added that developing, “an economic recovery strategy that will support the government’s security strategy” is indispensable.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, where American energy giants ExxonMobil and Chevron have a strong presence.

Sherman said the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian, must “garner the support of northern governors and local officials” as it pursues a plan to lift the north out of conflict and poverty.

According to the American diplomat, both nations came to a conclusion that there was a need for more training of Nigeria’s security forces.

“We will partner together for the kind of training that is needed, with military and all of the services of the Nigerian government,” Sherman told journalists.

A separate communique said the US would seek to boost partnerships with Nigeria’s police.

In the northeast, the hotbed of the insurgency, Nigeria has deployed a Joint Task Force including both military and police, but the units have been accused of widespread atrocities.

The Boko Haram conflict is estimated to have claimed more than 3,600 lives since 2009, including killings by the security forces.
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