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United States government has condemned the wanton killings in Nigeria and asked the Federal Government to step up efforts to stop the bloodshed and punish those behind it.

United States government has condemned the wanton killings in Nigeria and asked the Federal Government to step up efforts to stop the bloodshed and punish those behind it.

The Chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy, Mr. David Young, said Monday while addressing a peace and security conference in Plateau State. “On behalf of the United States government, I want to condemn in strong terms the violence that claimed innocent lives in Plateau State, the Middle Belt, and across Nigeria. The killing of innocent citizens is simply not acceptable whether in Plateau, Zamfara, Benue, Borno, Delta or Taraba. We as people of faith must surrender ourselves to God.”

Young highlighted the steps to be taken to end the circle of violence in the troubled states and other parts of the country and explained that the first step was to bring criminal actors arrested in connection with the attacks to justice by promptly trying them. “These criminals that committed these crimes must be caught and prosecuted,” said the U.S. diplomat.  “We must break the circle of impunity that fuels grievances on our sides and lead to reprisals and counter-reprisal attacks.

“So, we call for effective law enforcement to arrest and prosecute criminal actors who do evil things.

“It’s absolutely essential that those arrested must promptly face charges in court because bringing criminal actors to justice is the first step to end the violence”. The Plateau State government had convened the three-day peace and security conference as part of the processes of peace-building in the aftermath of killings in some communities of the state. The conference attracted participants from all sectors including traditional rulers, community leaders, security experts, as well as government and non-government organizations within and outside Plateau.

The topics discussed include peace building, security, as well as the roles of traditional, religious and community leaders in peace building. Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that Nigeria will continue to support the fight against terrorism and other crimes, especially in the West and Central sub-regions of Africa. The President made the promise on Monday in Lome, the Togolese capital during a joint summit of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He was making a contribution to the consideration and adoption of the draft declaration by ECCAS and ECOWAS on peace, security, stability and the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

“Nigeria will continue to support any effort directed towards peace-building, security and stability, as well as the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in our two sub-regions and the world at large, as an active member of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF). Respect for rule of law, democracy and promotion of human rights are vital as they are attributes of good governance, which would enhance the socio-economic development of the two regions. It is also noteworthy to state that the subsisting collaboration among Nigeria, Chad, Cameroun, Niger and Benin in the fight against transnational crimes and proliferation of small arms and light weapons is exemplary.”

The President also drew attention to the need to save Lake Chad, explaining that Nigeria’s collaboration with the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), which has a mandate to protect the environment, was existential because of the imperative to preserve the lake. He lamented that the shrinking of the lake, by 90 per cent, “has directly led to the economic hardship in the region, which has, in turn, created the enabling environment for the radicalisation of the youth. President Buhari, therefore, called for greater focus on the refilling of the Lake Chad “as a long-term solution to one of the root causes of this existential threat.”

He emphasized that the summit between ECOWAS and ECCAS was long overdue given the shared history and cultural ties of the two sub-regions and the common challenges they face. “Nigeria shares boundaries with two important ECCAS Members; Cameroun and Chad, with whom we share the same security threats, especially terrorism, illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons, human and drug trafficking, smuggling among others,” President Buhari told the African leaders.

“Therefore, collaboration between our two sub-regions has become inevitable at this time to enable us effectively confront the existing challenges. According to the President, such proximity informed his engagement with the neighbouring countries as soon as he came to power in 2015, leading to the formation of “a common front to combating Boko Haram insurgency” through the Multi-national Joint Task Force (MNJTF) by the countries of the LCBC – Nigeria, Cameroun, Chad, Niger, and the Benin Republic. He commended the efforts of the Chairpersons of ECCAS and ECOWAS for bringing together leaders of the two groupings to deliberate on important issues that required urgent attention.

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