United States Ambassador to Nigeria James Entwistle once again emphasized the U.S. commitment to seeing Nigeria win its war against terrorism. “We are committed to partnering with and supporting you in your ongoing efforts to restore peace and security to all of Nigeria,” Entwistle said. He spoke as the special guest of honor on January 13 during the first day of a four-day workshop on sharing lessons learned from counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism operations. The workshop was jointly organized by the Nigerian Army, AFRICOM’s office of the Special Operations Command; and attended by Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Staff Vice Admiral Ola Ibrahim; Chief of Army Staff Lt.-General Azubuike-Ihejirika, and other service chiefs.
Nigeria is currently battling terrorist insurgence from the Boko Haram in the three northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Jigawa.
In highlighting some of the U.S. efforts to assist Nigeria contain Boko Haram’s terrorist campaign, Ambassador Entwistle said the recent designation of Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization, is a testament to the U.S. concern and commitment to end the morally reprehensible organization that lacks regard for human life. He said the designation conveys that the United States stands firmly with our Nigerian friends and partners in seeing them win their war on terrorism.
Sharing insights on how Nigeria could defeat terrorism, Ambassador Entwistle said the U.S. experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan of winning support from the local population were critical as
bringing civilians into the process of governance, and addressing their grievances through positive civil-military relations, can reduce the recruiting pool for terrorist or insurgent groups. He recommended that such strong partnerships and approaches to counterterrorism could greatly help Nigeria defeat extremist enemies.
In his remarks, Vice Admiral Ola Ibrahim acknowledged the vast support the Nigerian Army received for the war against terrorism in Nigeria. He specifically said the support received from the United States showed that the United States is “truly a friend in deed and a true friend in need.”
Before the opening session of the workshop closed, Ambassador Entwistle joined the other special guests, including Vice Admiral Ola Ibrahim, Lt-General Azubuike-Ihejirika, the Ministry of Defense Permanent Secretary Aliyu Isma’ila, to officially launch the colors and flag of the newly created Nigerian Army’s Special Operations Command (NASPO). The command will coordinate all counter-insurgence and counter-terrorist operations within the Nigerian Army.