There Was Never An ‘Arms Embargo’ On Nigeria  – Ambassador Entwistle on Channels TV
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There Was Never An ‘Arms Embargo’ On Nigeria – Ambassador Entwistle on Channels TV

NEWS ANCHOR: The United States
remains Nigeria’s closest partner in the campaign against
Boko Haram in the country. In an interview with
Channels Television, the U.S. Ambassador
to Nigeria, Mr. James. Entwistle, reemphasized
relations between the two. Clearing the notion
that the United States, for a period of time last
year, pulled back support from Nigeria. Ambassador Entwistle
also says that the U.S. Will continue to support
Nigeria’s fight against insurgency despite the
Amnesty International report on violation of human rights,
because of Nigeria’s commitment to reviving– to reviewing,
rather– the report. AMBASSADOR JAMES
ENTWISTLE: We have been steady, consistent
partners ever since the Chibok
girls were abducted, and even long before that. Again, no partner is doing more
to help against Boko Haram. That has been the case
for some time now. That will continue. In fact, during President
Buhari’s excellent visit to Washington, we had
intense discussions about this, what his plans
were, what he hoped to do, so that we could take
a hard look at ways that we could help him
as he tries to ramp up even more against Boko Haram. And this talk about how
we’ve lifted an arms embargo is nonsense. There was never an arms embargo. The notion that somehow
the Leahy amendment, which requires us to take
human rights into consideration all over the world in our
military assistance programs, is no impediment to our program. There’s a lot of stuff
kicking around out there that’s just unhelpful. We have a good
military relationship. We hope it will improve as
we see exactly what President Buhari wants to do. So again, no one is
doing– no one will do more to help against Boko Haram
than the United States. NEWS REPORTER: So, the
U.S. has no problems with the Amnesty
International reports that Nigerian
troops are violating human rights in the
northeast of the country? AMBASSADOR ENTWISTLE: We are
ready to help them, to continue helping the Nigerian military. That’s always been the case. But as we do that,
we have to look at the individuals involved. Do they have human rights
problems, that kind of thing? Sometimes, when we’re doing
Leahy amendment vetting for human rights
considerations, we come across people
who we can’t approve. And we have to go back
and say, look can you give us some other candidates? But again, these are things
that we take into consideration. But they don’t prevent
us from having a very productive military
relationship. I must say, though, that I
think the response of President Buhari to the Amnesty
International report has been absolutely correct. He said, as president,
as a former military man, we take these things
very seriously. We will look into them. We will conduct on our
own investigations. That’s exactly the
right response, and I applaud him for that.

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