- Category: GENERAL
- Published on Friday, 10 August 2012 13:36
- Written by Elombah.com
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said Nigeria's future is "limitless" if the country's anti-corruption reform efforts continue. She made the comments after meeting Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. The closed-door talks also focused on the growing insecurity caused by Islamist militants.
Mrs Clinton, who was on the latest leg of her extensive tour of Africa, said the US was very supportive of the Nigerian government's anti-corruption reform efforts.
Goodluck Jonathan said he discussed security and the economy with Hillary Clinton
"But the most important task that you face, as you have said, is making sure that there are better opportunities for all Nigerians - north, south, east, west - every young boy and girl to have a chance to fulfil his or her God-given potential," she said at press conference with Mr Jonathan.
Nigeria is one of the world's biggest oil producers, but has been plagued by corruption.
Nigeria, the US's fifth largest supplier of oil, has been plagued by allegations that its wealth has been used for corrupt purposes since the oil boom of the 1970s.
Human Rights Watch has urged Secretary Clinton to take the opportunity of her visit to address these issues with her Nigerian counterparts and speak publicly about these and other human rights concerns during her trip to Nigeria.
In a letter to Clinton, HRW said their intention is "bring to your attention some of our recent research findings and recommendations for some key human rights challenges facing Nigeria"
"Despite Nigeria’s tremendous oil wealth, endemic government corruption and poor governance have robbed many Nigerians of their rights to health and education. These problems are most acute in the north – the country’s poorest region – where widespread poverty and unemployment, sustained by corruption, and state-sponsored abuses have created an environment in which militant groups thrive", the group said and added:
"Nigeria’s main anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has since 2005 filed corruption charges against 35 nationally prominent political figures, including 20 former state governors. The EFCC has secured four convictions of high-level officials, but they faced relatively little or no prison time. Despite the endemic corruption, no senior political figure in Nigeria is currently serving prison time for corruption."
"The EFCC has not yet made significant strides in the fight against corruption. The commission still lacks adequate institutional independence from the executive. Its chairperson, for example, can be removed at any time at the will of the president.
"We encourage you to call on the EFCC chairperson to give a public account of the status and reasons for delays in the corruption cases against senior political figures. We also urge you to press the presidency to improve the independence of the EFCC by sponsoring legislation to amend the EFCC Act to provide greater security of tenure for the commission’s chairperson."
Reports say there is a link between the stealing of oil money, widespread poverty and the current insecurity.
The north of Nigeria is where the Islamist Boko Haram group is most active and it is far less developed than the rest of the country.
The militants have stepped up attacks in the past year, targeting the UN headquarters in Abuja, churches and security buildings.
In the US, politicians have been debating to what extent Boko Haram poses a danger to the US.
With spiralling violence, the possibility of Nigeria's oil production being affected cannot be ruled out.
Clinton who arrived at the Villa at 3:54pm and left at 6:15pm told President Jonathan of the United State’s offer to help fight Boko Haram insurgency because Washington is concerned about insecurity spreading.
Washington will offer Nigeria help with things like forensics, tracking of suspects and “fusing” disparate strands of police and military intelligence.
Mrs Clinton said: “You appreciate and you know how committed United States and the Obama Administration is to our partnership with your country. We consider it absolutely vital to our Bi-National Commission which as you have mentioned, has helped us to expand and deepen our cooperation on a full range of issues. “We are working on economic matters, the improvement of productivity in agriculture, education and health, security, diversification of your economy and so much more.
“We intend to remain very supportive on your reform efforts.
“Thank you for mentioning the work we did together on the election. We were also very supportive of anti corruption reform efforts, more transparency in the work that you and your team are also championing because we really believe that the future for Nigeria is limitless but the most important task that you face, as you have said, is making sure that there are better opportunities for all Nigerians, South, East, West, every young boy or girl to have a chance to fulfil his or her God given potential.
“We want to work with you and we will be by your side as you make the reforms and take the tough decisions that are necessary.
President Jonathan commended the Americans for their support.
“Within this period of being Secretary of State, she has raised the relationship between Nigeria and America to a very high level that we have never reached for some time by personally chairing the Bi-National Commission. We have discussed various things - security, economy and so on and so forth. She has been very supportive"