The increase in activities and threats by terrorist groups in the Sahel region can be largely curbed by stepping up relations between Nigeria and the United States of America, according to Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this in Abuja on Thursday when he received the new US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Mary Beth Leonard, on a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa.
Noting the good relationship between Nigeria and the US, the Vice President called for an even more robust cooperation.
He observed that apart from poverty, terrorism is a major issue affecting the Sahel region and this is the best chance of making progress on those issues.
“Stepping up cooperation with the US in the area of counter-terrorism is something that should be pursued vigorously given the threats of terrorism in the Sahel,” according to the Vice President.
Responding to the proposition by Mrs Leonard for improved ties between Nigeria and US including through the restoration of the Bi-National Commission, Prof. Osinbajo said there are indeed huge opportunities for improved cooperation between both countries.
“The challenges facing us as a country are many but they present opportunities for doing innovative and great things. This is our best chance to making serious progress.
“I am certainly looking forward to the Bi-National Commission and hope that important issues concerning our trade relations will be addressed because we have barely scratched the surface,” the Vice President said.
Earlier in her remarks, the US Ambassador, Mrs Mary Beth Leonard said it was an honour to serve in Nigeria and expressed hope that her tenure as Ambassador to Nigeria would be fruitful.
The Ambassador said improving trade and investment and resuscitating the US-Nigeria Bi-National Commission will top her agenda in the coming years.