U.S pledges support, solidarity to combating insecurity in Lake Chad region


The U.S. government has pledged support and absolute solidarity to combat the lingering and growing insecurity in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin Region.

Mr Anthony Blinken, U.S Secretary of Sates disclosed this in a virtual interview with newsmen as part of his activities during his virtual visit to Africa on Tuesday.

Blinken made the pledge following questions on the growing insecurity in the region, across Nigeria and the death of Idriss Derby, Former President of Chad who died on the fields while fighting rebels.

He said that the U.S is committed to supporting Nigeria address these challenges through resources, information sharing, capacity building, equipment, amongst other ways.

Blinken however noted that it is important to work together using a comprehensive approach to address the situation.

“And I think it is fair to say that the challenges that Nigeria faces when it comes to security are quite extraordinary.

“And you referenced them – whether it’s terrorism, whether it’s banditry and criminality, whether it’s piracy. All of these are real challenges.

“The good news is this: One, we are in absolute solidarity between us in trying to address these challenges together.

“And the United States is committed to supporting Nigeria as it meets these challenges. And what that involves primarily is helping Nigeria continue to build its capacity.

“Through training, through resources, through information sharing, through equipment, and all of that done, very importantly, with full respect for human rights.

“But it’s also important that we work together, as we are, to address some of the drivers or facilitators of violence and instability that we know those engaged in these activities can sometimes feed on.

“And that’s why you have to have a comprehensive approach to these challenges. It’s not – the security piece is vitally important, but it’s insufficient, and so economic development, progress, opportunity is hugely important”, Blinken said.

Blinken said it is also important to deal with the other drivers that lead to conflict, violence and extremism in the Lake Chad Basin Region.

“So, too, are dealing with some of the other drivers that sometimes produce conflict, violence, and extremism. And one of the things that’s striking, of course, is the Lake Chad basin.

“And there we’ve seen over time, as you know, the erosion of the basin, including because of climate change.

“And that, in turn, can produce conflict over resources, new migratory patterns that put people in conflict, food insecurity, the more easy spread of disease.

“All of which can produce an environment in which terrorism, criminality, other forms of violence are more likely.

“So I think it’s vital that we address these, as I know President Buhari is very focused on”, Blinken added.

Blinken added that on this note, that was why it was so important to have President Buhari as well as President Kenyatta from Kenya take part in the climate summit that President Biden convened last week.

He explained that the Summit was a very powerful manifestation of the broad international commitment to address the challenges posed by climate change, which in turn, he thinks will address some of the drivers we’ve seen of conflict which in turn can feed extremism.

“So it’s a long way of saying I think we have to see the big picture, the comprehensive picture – obviously focus on the hard security collaboration that we have.

“And strengthen that, but also not lose sight of some of the bigger pieces of this that we have to address together as well”, Blinken further stated.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Blinken’s virtual trip to Africa is another important step by the Biden-Harris administration to strengthen the U.S relations with African countries.

By Lizzy Okoji