Ambassador Vicki Huddleston, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defence for Africa, says that her country and Nigeria will strengthen ties in defence.Huddleston gave the assurance on Friday in Abuja when she paid a courtesy call on the minister of state for defence, Mrs Olusola Obada, in her office.
She said that she came to have talks with the minister because of the meeting between U.S.president Barrack Obama and president Goodluck Jonathan on some issues bordering on security.
“We want to discuss with you on how we can further our co-operation on security. Security is a critical issue for Nigeria; it is a critical issue for West Africa and, indeed, the whole world.
“The best way is for the military to ensure peace and security, so as to engender good governance, prosperity and development”, she said.
Huddleston said that Nigeria and the U.S. could partner in developing security programmes, while contributing to peace in the region by expanding co-operation in military issues.
Responding, Obada expressed Nigeria’s appreciation for the U.S. support in addressing the security situation and other areas.
She welcomed the U.S. request for greater military cooperation to ensure the security of Nigeria.
“We can assure you that we need the collaboration with the U.S. because of the challenges we are facing in the Gulf of Guinea and also in the waters between Republic of Benin and Nigeria.
“It is not just the Niger Delta, the activities in the Gulf of Guinea and the waters between Benin Republic and Nigeria are a source of concern, as people come to cart away our fish and prawns; thereby depleting our economic prosperity”, she said.
Obada thanked the U.S. for its assistance in the training and re-training of Nigeria’s military personnel.
“I want to assure you that Nigeria appreciates the efforts of the U.S. in all these areas and I hope we will be working together for the greater benefits of our countries”, she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Huddleston was accompanied on the visit by the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Terence McCulley and other top U.S. officials.