News / Africa

US, Nigeria, to Set Up Bi-National Commission

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson (file photo)
US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson (file photo)

The United States and Nigeria sign an accord Tuesday setting up a high-level bi-national commission, one of three the Obama administration plans to have with key African states. The State Department says the panel will, among other things, try to encourage electoral reform in Nigeria after trouble-ridden elections in 2007.

The agreement, to be signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Nigerian Secretary to the Federal Government Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, is aimed at solidifying relations between the United States and its leading Africa trading partner.

Nigeria is the third-largest supplier of oil to the United States and among other things, the largest African contributor to international peacekeeping operations.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, briefing reporters on the pending agreement, said the United States views Nigeria - Africa's most populous nation - as a key to regional security.

"Nigeria has played a central, important and positive role in stability and peace in West Africa," said Johnnie Carson. "Liberia and Sierra Leone are peaceful today, under democratic governance today, in large measure due to the enormous political and security commitments made by previous Nigerian leaders. They are a key player, economically,  politically and in security in West Africa."

The U.S.-Nigerian bi-national commission will be a prototype for similar panels the Obama administration plans to set up with South Africa and Angola.

It will have working groups aimed at helping Nigeria improve governance and fight corruption, boost economic opportunity in the troubled but oil-rich Niger Delta region, deal with chronic power and refined fuel shortages, and make more of its vast agricultural potential.

Carson said the United States wants in particular to help Nigeria improve the conduct of elections after voting in 2007 was marred by fraud and violence and considered a setback from previous voting.

The chief U.S. Africa diplomat bluntly suggested that replacing controversial Nigerian elections chief Maurice Iwu would be one step that would improve prospects for a fairer national election in 2011.

"We hope that when it comes time to look at reappoint, or the decision to appoint someone else, that his past record be taken into account," he said. "The 2007 elections, in which he was responsible, were deeply flawed, highly condemned inside the country and deeply questioned outside the country. His track record in running elections has not been high or stellar, in fact it's been disappointing."

Carson said the working group on the Niger Delta would be aimed at dealing with the region's multiple problems including high unemployment and environmental degradation.

He categorically rejected a recent report by the newspaper Nigerian Compass that the United States is considering military intervention, if violence in the area threatened oil production.

"Nigeria's security is the responsibility of the central government of Nigeria," said Assistant Secretary of State Carson. "The United States has no, and I repeat, no intention of engaging militarily in Nigeria. The story that you have mentioned is erroneous, false and completely without foundation."

Carson said Nigeria's leadership acted responsibly and within the broad outlines of the constitution when it named Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as acting president in February, due to the prolonged illness-related absence of President Umaru Yar'Adua.

He said the political uncertainty over the change has begun to recede, but that the situation underlines the need to reform the national electoral commission and move toward new elections to be held before May of next year.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid