Adefuye Says Clinton’s Visit Will Strengthen Nigeria-US Relations

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The visit of the US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodman Clinton has been said to be important as it will strengthen Nigeria-United States of America relation. This assertion was made on Tuesday by Professor Ade Adefuye, the Nigerian Ambassador to the United States of America, at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, (NIIA).

Speaking at a symposium tagged “The visit of US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, to Nigeria and the Future of Nigeria-US Relations: What Role for the Nigerian Media?
Prof Adefuye said Clinton’s visit was a confirmation of the importance of Nigeria to US. He said the visit was more of a valedictory visit for her because she will be taking a bow after serving for four years as US Secretary of State . Having been a Senator and first lady of Bill Clinton, a US President whose foreign policy was libra to Africa; Nigeria and Africa may be losing one of their great supporters in the White House.

In his opening remark, the Director General of NIIA , Professor Bola Akinterinwa said Sovereign State of Bakassi has become an issue, with people declaring self rule and launching a flag. The green tree agreement on the Bakassi judgement will become affirmative by October 10, 2012. He said the trust of Nigerian media was important to stem the tide of insecurity. He called for a regular briefing of diplomatic events to the press. He said since NIIA is building foreign community, he wanted the press to buy into it. He raised concern about the safety of the media practitioners in the line of duty.

Adefuye in his speech said that Nigeria had signed a Bi-national Commission agreement with US. This include: Transparency and Good governance as well as the assistance given to INEC during the 2011 elections. US’ support for the fight against corruption is another area the government of Nigeria has benefited. US assisted the Country’s anti-corruption agencies; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Adefuye also said Ibrahim Larmorde has received a lot of support from the US government because his regime as the EFCC’s boss is seen by the United States as a continuation of Nuhu Ribadu, the pioneer Chairman of the anti-corruption agency.

In the area of economic development, Adefuye said the Country has also benefited from the relation. For example, there is $1.5B guarantee for American companies that are interested in power sector development in Nigeria. Many American companies are also investing in Agriculture in Nigeria. AMCO is establishing factory in Port harcourt and Ilorin.

“The issue of security was discussed, President Jonathan restated, while meeting with clinton, the resolve to resist the attempt of some congress men to brand Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation even though three members of the sect have been declared wanted in the US. Niger/delta and regional security agreement with the governments of Niger Delta States was also discussed”, Adefuye added.

Quoting US Vice President, Joe Biden who said “Nigeria is the first America’s anchor in Africa”. Adefuye said, “for peace and prosperity in the World, there must be peace in Africa and for that, Nigeria must first know peace. This is because, out of every 6 Africans, Nigerian is one and for every 10 Africans in the World, Nigeria is one”.

The Ambassador who debunked the notion that Nigeria wasn’t considered for visit by Clinton initially explained that the mixed up was as a result of the President Jonathan’s planned visit to Trinidad and Jamaica which was responsible for the earlier non-inclusion in the list.

“In fact, Nigeria was supposed to be the first port of call for Clinton’s valedictory visit. The media reports earlier suggesting that she wouldn’t be here was not true. I felt bad because President Jonathan’s earlier plan to attend an event in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago for the 50th independent of the Caribbean Country was responsible ”

Adefuye said Nigeria is bigger than everybody and the media should report positive things about the country. He gave an example of where the American press supported President Barack Obama when his government captured Osama Bin Laden even though the press may differ with him on some domestic policies. He enjoined the press to support the foreign policy objective of the government.

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