A former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has said the Nigerian government may never receive any financial or technical assistance from the US and its allies in its fight against insecurity until the federal government addresses human rights abuses by the security forces in the country.
He stated this on Friday during a virtual conference on the maiden edition of ‘Grow Nigeria Conversation’ with the theme, ‘Reversing the Flourishing Economy of Kidnapping and Banditry: Immediate & Long-term Solutions’ monitored by SaharaReporters.
Campbell said the US laws prohibited the American government from giving technical expertise to any country whose security forces are accused of human rights violations.
He urged the Buhari-led government to ensure it restores public confidence and trust in the security forces, especially the police.
He said, “Under the United States law, we are prohibited from providing any technical expertise for security forces accused of human rights abuses.
“Human rights abuses are a massive 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.”
Speaking on the amnesty granted to bandits, Campbell said it is illegal and would not bring a solution to the problem.
He said, “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.”
On his part, a US Africa policy expert, Matthew Page, said the Nigerian military’s unwillingness to accept international military cooperation is a major hindrance to Nigeria accessing help, in the fight against insecurity, from the outside world.
He, however, noted that seeking international assistance was not the way out for Nigeria but that ending impunity and holding security forces accountable would achieve more gains for the country.