US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday cautioned Africa to beware of China’s growing role as he vowed a greater US commitment in talks with Nigeria and Kenya.
The U.S. government says the crises confronting Nigeria are “extraordinary” and that President Muhammadu Buhari is “very focused on” them.
Anthony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, disclosed this in a virtual interview with journalists as part of his activities during his virtual visit to Africa on Tuesday.
According to Blinken, the U.S. is committed to supporting Nigeria address these challenges through resources, information sharing, capacity building, equipment, amongst other ways.
“I think it is fair to say that the challenges that Nigeria faces when it comes to security are quite extraordinary,” said Blinken. “Whether it’s terrorism, whether it’s banditry and criminality, whether it’s piracy. All of these are real challenges.”
He pointed out that the American government’s interest in helping Nigeria was “good news.”
“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,” stated the U.S. envoy.
Blinken said it was important to deal with other factors causing conflict, violence, and extremism in the Lake Chad Basin Region.
“There, we’ve seen over time, as you know, the erosion of the basin, including because of climate change. That, in turn, can produce conflict over resources, new migratory patterns that put people in conflict, food insecurity, the more easy spread of disease.
“All of which can produce an environment in which terrorism, criminality, other forms of violence are more likely.”
While many critics have described Buhari’s attitude to worsening insecurity and other crises in the country as lethargic, the American government claimed he was focused.
“So I think it’s vital that we address these, as I know President Buhari is very focused on,” Blinken asserted.
He added that on this note, that was why it was important to have Buhari and President Uhuru Kenyatta take part in the climate summit that President Joe Biden convened last week.
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