U.S. Remains Optimistic about Nigeria’s Greatness – Ambassador Entwistle (July 8, 2014)

AMBO-July42014-full Security cooperation, youth empowerment, free and fair elections, health, Niger Delta and economic partnerships remain major pillars of our robust engagement with Nigeria and such partnerships run deep according to U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria James F. Entwistle.  Ambassador Entwistle spoke at a reception of more than 600 guests invited to celebrate the 238th independence anniversary of the United States of America on July 4th in Abuja

He said given the recent spate of kidnappings, bombings, and other despicable acts of terrorism by Boko Haram, the United States wants Nigeria to win its war on terror.

“Let me be clear—we want Nigeria to win its war on terrorism.  And we are hereHHPPSquareJuly4Large to support you in that effort and our security partnership is at the forefront of our work with Nigeria these days.”

Earlier in the remarks, Ambassador Entwistle informed his audience that the evolving new embassy compound which comes complete with new Office Annex, Marine House, and other facilities demonstrates one example of U.S. commitment to continue its vibrant presence in Nigeria.

The evening reception was particularly friendly without the usual rainfall common at this time of the season and the Henhouse Prowlers, a bluegrass group from Chicago, played amazing music that created a unique blend to the peaceful atmosphere within the evolving Embassy compound.

In honoring America’s strength, Ambassador Entwistle noted that the Fourth of July remains a tribute to the realization of dreams and potential, and is a symbol of America’s evolution. He said it took international partnership, diplomacy, an effective military, and government representatives who responsibly exercised their power to develop and improve United States democracy.  Some of this came from within the character of the American people, and some of it as inspiration or direct support from our partners

He set apart for special mention Mrs. Beatrice Jedy-Agba, the executive secretary of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) who was honored by Secretary of State John Kerry on June 20 as one of the ten heroes of the 2014 Trafficking in Persons in Washington.

On health, he emphasized that Nigeria remains the largest recipient of the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief in the world, receiving $458 million dollars in support from the American people each year. Such funding supports both treatment and prevention of the spread of HIV and AIDS and also to build Nigerian capacity to address this HIV/AIDS crisis.

Speaking on elections, the U.S. Ambassador assured that the United States was deeply committed to helping Nigeria ensure that the elections in 2015 are free, fair, peaceful, and credible. He challenged all those going for elective office to take the public pledge of nonviolence before, during, and after the elections.

Among the invited guests for the occasion were senior government officials, members of the armed forces, civil society groups, the diplomatic community, cultural figures, the media, Nollywood stars, and two music icons, Peter Okoye of “P-Square” and Dbanj, the Koko-Master.