Counselor Brechbühl’s Travel to Nigeria

The following is attributable to Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus:‎

Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbühl visited Abuja, Nigeria from October 19 to October 23.  Counselor Brechbühl’s delegation included Assistant Secretary Robert Destro from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and Assistant Secretary Dr. Denise Natali from the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.  The delegation travelled to Nigeria to raise U.S. government concerns about ongoing violence in Nigeria, human rights, and religious freedom, and to enhance U.S.-Nigerian cooperation in preventing atrocities.  The delegation met with religious leaders, civil society figures, senior police officials, and government leaders, including the Vice President of Nigeria and the Foreign Minister, to identify ways we can work together to combat violence, promote security, and bolster economic recovery.

The delegation’s visit came during a tumultuous time for Nigeria with ongoing protests over police brutality and corruption.  In meetings with the government, Counselor Brechbühl expressed deep concern and condemned the use of excessive force by the military when it fired on unarmed protestors in Lagos on October 20.  He offered our deepest condolences to the victims of those shootings and their families.  The Counselor reiterated that those responsible should be held accountable under the law and emphasized that the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are human rights and core democratic principles.

In his meetings, Counselor Brechbühl reinforced our strong collaboration on common goals and shared U.S. concerns about ongoing violence in Northern Nigeria.  The delegation heard a wide range of perspectives regarding the drivers of, and solutions to, that violence and ways in which the United States can support those efforts.

As Nigeria starts its 60th year of independence, the visit reaffirmed the importance of our bilateral relationship.  The delegation emphasized the value of U.S. and Nigerian collaboration to improve security cooperation and strengthen economic partnership to foster mutual prosperity.