The United States Government has proposed to offer more assistance to Nigeria in its fight against Boko Haram if the Federal Government keeps to the February 14 and 28 general elections timetable.
The Deputy Spokesperson of the US Department of State, Marie Harf, gave the condition at the department’s daily briefing on Thursday.
The transcript of the session was obtained on Friday by The Nation.
According to Harf, the US was committed to the building of capacity of Nigerian troops and other countries in the region to combat insurgency.
She said: “We certainly provide a great amount of assistance to Nigeria when it comes to the fight against Boko Haram.
“Well, we certainly have, as the United States, provided assistance to help in this fight, and you heard the Secretary when he was in Nigeria say we want to do more to help the Nigerians.
“Part of that depends upon them going forward with the elections as scheduled, holding them – limiting the violence, having credible and fair elections.
“So we certainly believe this is a critical challenge. Boko Haram is a little bit of a different threat than ISIS. Obviously, each threat is different, but we’re very committed to helping the countries in the region fight this.”
To win the war against Boko Haram, Harf said Nigeria and allied forces (Chad, Cameroon and Niger) require more capacity and more willingness.
“Well, I clearly think if you just look at the sheer amount of violence that Boko Haram has been able to perpetrate that there needs to be more capacity and more willingness among some of the parties.
Some of the – there’ve been some times when people have stepped up and really tried to be aggressive against Boko Haram, but clearly more needs to be done”, she added.
Responding to questions on whether western nations were reluctant in moving against Boko Haram, Harf said: “Well, I think that’s probably a larger analytical question that I’m not going to delve into from here.
“I can just speak for the U.S. and what – this building and this government is very committed to helping Nigeria and the countries in the region build their capacity and push them to take on this fight even more seriously”.
On the alleged incursions into Nigeria territory by Chadian forces to fight Boko Haram, the US Government official said she could not immediately confirm it.
But she was quick to add that the US thinks a regional effort is needed to curtail the insurgents.
She said: “Well, we have obviously seen these reports about where certain troops are and who’s fighting who. We do believe that a regional effort is needed to fight Boko Haram. “Obviously, Nigeria plays the most important role here. So I can’t confirm reports that Chadian forces have been inside Boko – excuse me, inside Nigeria fighting Boko Haram, but we do think that a regional effort is needed.
“We’ve talked to the regional partners about it, so I can check and see if there are more details”.