To play regional leadership role, Nigeria must overcome Boko Haram –U.S.

United States (U.S.) government stressed on Thursday that Nigeria must overcome the challenge posed by Boko Haram insurgency to fully achieve its potentials as a stable regional leader.
U.S. Under Secretary, Wendy Sherman said this in Abuja at the second session of the Regional Security Working Group of the Nigeria/US Bi-National Commission Conference.
She also noted that Boko Haram “offers no practical solutions to northern Nigeria’s problems but rather capitalises on popular frustrations, religious differences, and economic and social difficulties, seeking to undermine the government and exploit religious differences in order to create chaos and make Nigeria ungovernable.”
The U.S. official believes that Nigeria cannot fully achieve its potentials as a stable regional leader until it successfully overcomes the challenge of Boko Haram and secures peace and protection for all its citizens in all regions.
“Security efforts are necessary to protect innocent Nigerians, to prevent Boko Haram’s acts of violence, and to capture and prosecute its leaders.
“The Nigerian government and military must also win over the hearts and minds of northern populations by protecting them and providing timely and commensurate justice to both insurgents and the victims of this unfortunate conflict,” she said.
While agreeing that it is no easy task, she stated that a comprehensive approach that addresses socio-economic problems, articulates clear rules of engagement, and commitment to accountability for those who perpetrate violence, both Boko Haram and security forces, would demonstrate to every Nigerian that their future is brighter in a more secure Nigeria.
Sherman advocated a new social compact with Nigerian citizens that encompasses an economic recovery strategy as a complement to the government’s security strategy.
“Achieving success will not be easy, but we are ready to work with you as one of your strongest and most faithful friends and partners, to discuss new ways of help.
“We stand ready to work together to develop a multi-faceted strategy to counter the threat posed by Boko Haram that also demonstrates to civilians that they will be protected,” she said.

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