Former US Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has made it clear that his country and its allies will not render both technical and financial assistance in its fight against insecurity, especially Boko Haram, Bandits and other criminals until Nigeria addresses the problem of human rights abuses by the security forces.
He said that US laws prohibit the American government from providing technical expertise to security forces that are accused of human rights violations, and therefore, called on the Nigerian government to restore public confidence in the security forces, especially the police.
The ex-US envoy spoke during the maiden edition of ‘Grow Nigeria Conversation’ with the theme: ‘Reversing the Flourishing Economy of Kidnapping and Banditry: Immediate & long-term solutions’, which held in Abuja.
Campbell, who joined the event virtually, said: “the Nigerian government has to do its best to restore public confidence in the security forces, especially the police.
“Outside friends of Nigeria can provide technical expertise to the country in its fight against insecurity.
”However, under US law, we are prohibited from providing any technical expertise for security forces accused of human rights abuses.
“Human rights abuses are a huge barrier to a more cordial relationship between the US and the Nigerian security forces. And we know that addressing this barrier is a complex issue.
“There could be financial support to help build up the security forces; there could also be a transfer of technologies. If human rights abuses were to go away, the possibility of a deeper relationship is possible.”
Campbell argued against the payment of ransom to bandits as a solution to the problem of kidnapping, describing it as illegal both in the US and Nigeria.
“Payment of ransom is illegal in the United States, but it could be extremely unpopular, particularly to those close to the victims of kidnapping. It is also illegal in Nigeria but common in the country.”
This was even as a US Africa policy expert, Matthew T. Page, said the unwillingness of the Nigeria military to accept international military cooperation is another major hindrance to Nigeria accessing help, in the fight against insecurity, from the outside world.
He said, however, that seeking international assistance is not the way out for Nigeria but that ending impunity and holding security forces accountable would achieve more gains for the country.
“Ending impunity and holding security forces accountable for gross human rights violations could actually achieve more gains in the long run than any international assistance we could provide, because it would restore the trust of the local communities, end the radicalisation of the local population and rebuild the legitimacy of the state.”