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FG Not Supporting Northern Governors’ Development Efforts – US

The United States has said that efforts being made by the northern state governments in addressing the Boko Haram’s appeal in the region are not getting required support from the Federal Government.

The US Department of State stated that the Federal Government had failed in addressing “grievances among northern populations” which it listed as high unemployment and dearth of basic services.

This was contained in the US Bureau of Counterterrorism 2013 Country Reports on Terrorism which was released on Wednesday evening. The yearly report assesses trends and events in international terrorism.

The report decried the Boko Haram insurgency which it said “continued throughout the northern part of the country,” noting that the violence was spilling over into neighbouring Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.

The report partly read, “The government of Nigeria’s efforts to address grievances among northern populations, which includes high unemployment and a dearth of basic services, made little progress. Some state governments in the North attempted to increase education and employment opportunities, but with almost no support from the Federal Government.

“The United States called on the Nigerian government to employ a more comprehensive strategy to address Boko Haram that combines security efforts with political and development efforts to reduce Boko Haram’s appeal, address the legitimate concerns of the people of northern Nigeria, and protect the rights of all of Nigeria’s citizens.”

The report also faulted the way and manner “several government agencies” were performing counter-terrorism functions, saying the development was hampering the success of the war against terrorism.

According to the US document, although the Office of the National Security Adviser is ostensibly coordinating the war against terror, the level of inter-agency cooperation and information sharing was limited.

It added, “The Nigerian government’s criminal justice institutions were not significantly strengthened in 2013, although several donor countries, including the UK, worked closely with the Ministry of Justice to assist in prioritising how to investigate and prosecute suspected terrorist cases.

“Among the problems that deterred or hindered more effective law enforcement and border security by the Nigerian government were: a lack of coordination and cooperation between Nigerian security agencies; a lack of biometrics collection systems and the requisite data bases; corruption; misallocation of resources; the slow pace of the judicial system, including a lack of a timely arraignment of suspected terrorist detainees; and lack of sufficient training for prosecutors and judges to understand and carry out the Terrorism (Prevention) Act of 2011 (as amended).

“Several government agencies performed counterterrorism functions, including the Nigerian Department of State Security the National Police Force and the Ministry of Justice. It is important to note that the Nigerian military had the primary responsibility for combating terrorism in north-eastern Nigeria. While the counterterrorism activities of these agencies and ministry were ostensibly coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser, the level of inter-agency cooperation and information sharing was limited.”

The report observed that Nigeria made significant progress in its “anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism” efforts in 2013, relative to its action plan.

When contacted, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Dr. Reuben Abati, said he would need to read the report first before reacting to it.

Source: Punch

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