Wednesday 24 August 2016


The US Secretary of State, John Kerry was in Nigeria between the 22nd and 23rd of August, 2016 to discuss with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Sultan of Sokoto - Mohammadu Sa'ad Abubakar, the five northern Governors and other stakeholders. This was Kerry's third visit to Nigeria in less than two years! The discussion had two major prongs - Nigeria's fight against violent extremism (VE) and corruption.

Kerry commended Nigeria's spirited fight against corruption while noting that the world loses $2.6tr annually to corrupt practices. On VE, Kerry said 'BH boasts of no agenda more than to burn schools. They kill and maim people, especially teachers, and it's the opposite of any religion. The US is deeply committed to working with Nigeria to build counter-terrorism (CT) capacity. The US has worked out CT capacity for global application'.

He commended the Sultan of Sokoto for his relentless effort at entrenching peace and unity in Nigeria and beyond. He lauded the plan of the Sultanate Council to establish an all-women university, saying that girls, women, children and other vulnerable groups must be educated, given job and opportunities to explore their potential.

Kerry however warned against 'military crackdowns' in Nigeria and congratulated the country on its recent military success against BH. He warned that Nigeria would 'face a blow-back' if it cracks down on the Islamists with 'excessive force'. He praised Nigeria for reclaiming swaths of territory from BH and releasing thousands of hostages over the past one year. He emphasised respect for human rights in the fight against terrorism

According to Kerry, VE cannot be defeated through repression or fear. ' Fear instilled through through repression invites not confidence, but contempt. It creates terrorists'. He appealed to Nigerians to 'practice equality and tolerance in order to overcome deep-seated ethnic and religious divisions'. In its quest to create a fundamentalist Islamic state, BH has killed more than 20,000 people and displaced 2.6 million from their homes. With homes and businesses destroyed and farmland devastated, the UN has warned that some 50,000 children could starve to death this year in Borno state alone if nothing is done.

Earlier in August 2016, the US government pledged $37m in aid for victims of BH as fears of famine mounted in the ravaged Lake Chad region. What do I make of all these?

It is good for foreign countries to come and make 'donations and logistic support' towards Nigeria's fight against VE. But we should always remember that VE is a Nigerian issue first of all, though extremism has international dimensions. In this regard, I wish to commend the Federal Government's revised National Counter Terrorism Strategy (NCTS) launched yesterday. The first NCTS was launched in 2014. Nigeria needs to continue to sharpen the strategy and keep improving on field operations in the delicate and unconventional war against VE.

We need home grown strategies more than ever before, while taking cognisance of advice, technical and material support from interested parties like the US.

Related Links

*US Secretary of State, John Kerry meets Buhari
*Corruption, security top Kerry's visit to Nigeria
*How Nigeria can defeat BH completely by John Kerry
*What is in Kerry's visit to Nigeria for the US?
*The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) berates John Kerry for visiting muslim community only
*John Kerry's visit: Beyond the cover story
*Why states fail & how to rebuild them: Lessons fron Afghanistan & South Sudan
*Who knew there were limits to VE?: Al-Queda's leader accuses ISIS of being too extreme    http://www,
*Preventing VE: South Africa's place in the world
*Kerry's visit to Nigeria discriminatory, divisive - CAN
*US Secretary of State, John Kerry in Sokoto (Photos)
*Where do Sahel terrorists get their heavy weapons from?
*Understanding psychological distress & protection issues among children associated with armed groups (CAAGs)
*Many of the children formerly associated with armed groups suffer extreme levels of PTSD and other forms of mental illness
Disruptive Islamic radicalisation
*The Kenyan women and girls who joined Al-Shabaab: Why they did it     https;//