The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffery Oneyama, has said that the U.S. has agreed to help Nigeria reconstruct and rehabilitate the North Eastern communities destroyed by Boko Haram. Onyeama told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday that an agreement to that effect was reached following a bi-national commission meeting with the U.S. in Washington D.C. in March.
He said that the bi-national commission centred on the three priority areas of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, namely: security, governance, and economy. “We engaged with the United States on three areas – the area of security, which was led by the minister of defence. “We really looked at not just the military aspect of the security challenges that we are faced with in this country, but also the reconstruction efforts that we are engaged with in the North East. “And what we particularly emphasised and the term that came up was a martial plan of sort – a martial plan like arrangement to help the North East with reconstruction and rehabilitation. “And we looked at the various areas that have to be addressed further – the de-radicalisation process; addressing the economy of the North East and how to resuscitate that and the investments that would be required,” he said.
According to him, the Americans are keen on identifying a mechanism in government that will guide the process of rehabilitation, reconstruction, and education of the children affected by the insurgency. He said that the U.S. would encourage Non-Governmental Organisations to be part of the initiative.
The minister said that Nigeria had agreed to participate in the U.S. open government partnership initiative and the partnership on illicit finance. He said that the initiative was with a view to addressing corruption and bad governance in the country According to the Minister, “Nigeria was not able to join up to now because in the past they did not feel that Nigeria met the requirements to participate in these initiatives. “So in other words, there were issues with our governance practices, we were not eligible to join. “Now with the measures that have been taken by the present government, things like declaration of assets by public officials and other good governance practices that have been instituted by this government, they now feel that we are eligible to join “And we have been invited to join; so in principle, we are agreeable to joining and we made that clear. We have indicated that we may likely join this initiative by the middle of this year.”