From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, has said countering violent extremism was top priority for the US and Nigerian ties.
Leonard stated this in an article titled: “An unforgettable 2021” where she recalled the over $130 million the US had contributed towards the COVID-19 health response in Nigeria, its pledge of 36 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, of which 18 million have been delivered and the balance 18 million to be delivered in the coming weeks.
“Countering violent extremism in Nigeria remains a top priority for both our countries. We were proud to support such efforts with the delivery of 12 Super Tucano aircrafts, which are already being employed to assist the Nigerian Air Force in their fight against violent extremist organisations. We have also worked with civil society, civilian law enforcement, the judiciary, and corrections officials to combat insecurity, strengthen effective and equitable access to the rule of law and justice, protect human rights, and together create a safer Nigeria.
“In fact, we have many reasons to remain positive about the progress made this year toward our shared goals. This past year, I had many opportunities to engage with Nigerians from all walks of life, from Kebbi to Akwa Ibom, and Ife to Jos. One common theme inevitably prevails – Nigerians seek a more secure living environment to raise and educate their children, earn a decent living, and strengthen their communities. We have done our utmost to address these concerns through a variety of mechanisms.”
Leonard said in 2021, both countries strengthened partnerships in important sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, information and communication technology and renewable energy.
She said Nigeria is the US’s second largest trading partner on the African continent and that both countries would continue to seek ways to deepen their economic relationship.