Nigeria hails United States for development assistance, fight against insurgency
The Nigerian Government has commended the United States of America (USA) for its development assistance to the country and interventions in the fight against insurgency in the North-East.
Mr Mustapha Suleiman, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave the commendation on Thursday in Abuja during the commemoration of the 243rd Independence of the US organised by the US Embassy in Nigeria.
Suleiman, who was represented by Mr Obioma Nzewuji, Director, American and Caribbean Affairs of the Ministry, said that the U.S has been very supportive to Nigeria in different fields, urging both countries to sustain the collaborations.
“Today, as we join the United States in commemorating its independence anniversary, we celebrate the very essence of American progress, the spirit that defines the unity of its people for more than two centuries.
“Both countries have collaborated in different fields and the United States have demonstrated to be a trusted and reliable friend to Nigeria.
“We express profound appreciation to the United States government for the various forms of assistance given to Nigeria over the years, especially more recently in our fight against insurgency in the North- East.
“The humanitarian aids provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is a demonstration of goodwill and cordiality existing between our two countries.
“The US have been very supportive to Nigeria during and after the just concluded elections.
“It is a good time for Nigeria and United States relations and I hope both countries will continue to sustain this momentum in the years to come,” Suleiman said.
On his part, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington said that the greatest resources Nigeria had was the people of Nigeria, urging Nigerians to build on its human resources.
Symington explained that the wealth of Nigeian in human resources rest in the unity of the country in spite of its ethnic diversities.
He said that this was a challenge in other countries but Nigeria had effectively overcome the challenge of ethic diversities and have built the country into a “Big Idea”.
“The greatest resource Nigerians have is themselves as individuals.
“Nigeria is more than a country, Nigeria is an idea, the idea of Nigeria is that you can take 500 tribes, put them in a place and get them to think of themselves as one nation bond in freedom, peace and unity.
“This is no easy task. We in the United States have been after unity, and freedom and unity since before the song was written in 1812.
“The idea is that Nigeria is bigger than Nigerians, this idea of bringing the world together so that we truly are not just one nation under God and indivisible but one family under God and indivisible.
“This is the greatest challenge the world faces today and I am convinced that we got the answer.
“Thank you for coming here to celebrate this idea that we all have the right to live and to unite in freedom and prosperity and justice for all,” Symington said.
In his remarks, Mr Sterling Tilley, Cultural Affairs officer, US Embassy in Nigeria said that the Embassy was supporting in strengthening the relations between both countries.
Tilley said that the most important thing to remember was that Nigeria is the number one country in Africa that is important to the US policies for the whole continent.
He debunked reports that the Embassy was unnecessarily denying visas to Nigerians seeking to travel to the US.
Tilley told the media that the Consular section was ensuring that people trying to legitimately travel to the US acquire visas.