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“US Govt never said Nigeria ‘ll break up by 2015 – Envoy” – Vanguard

Ambassador of the United States of America to Nigeria, Mr. Terence McCulley has said his country never predicted that Nigeria would break up by 2015 as earlier reported.

The envoy who was in Ibadan Thursday explained further that the prediction was done by a private agency that carried out a survey and not the US government as claimed by the report.

He said the US government considered Nigeria as a strategic partner in Africa adding that the role that Nigeria plays in peace keeping operation in the continent was very vital.
Describing the violent activities of Boko Haram sect as unfortunate, he said he was optimistic that it would soon be resolved going by the combined efforts of both Christian and Muslim youth to solve the problem.

To him, the issue of Boko Haram menace could be attributed to political rivalry between the North and the south stating that his country was playing a major role in checking the excesses of the sect noting further that with the sending of bomb technicians to Nigeria, it was indicative of the robust relationship between the two countries.

He added that corruption in the country was a fundamental problem which had created wide gaps between the people and government urging all tiers of government to ensure that the vice was tackled.
He advised that the government should strengthen all the relevant anti-corruption agencies and give them necessary backing to perform.

McCulley expressed earlier in his remarks that Nigerians exercised Freedom of Speeech and Expression last month when they spoke out to debate the decision to remove subsidy on gasoline.

“They did so peacefully, for the most part, from Lagos and Ibadan to Kaduna and Kano. And the Nigerian government, for the most part, protected its citizens’ right to speak out, and held accountable those who abused authority. This is a sign of democracy: people exercised a fundamental freedom, and the government listened”, he said.

He continued saying “Nigeria is also a country of diverse faiths, and Nigeria also drawa its strength from this diversity. In spite of this-perhaps because of it-some people seek to exploit religious differences in Nigeria.

But, many Nigerians have refused to let this happen. I am pleased to see ongoing interfaith dialogues among religious leaders. I was especially encouraged by reports of Christians protecting Muslims during Friday prayers during the protests against fuel subsidies and Muslims guarding Christian churches during Sunday services after the horrendous Christmas Day attacks. Efforts like these to promote a universal freedom of worship will help everyone prosper”.

“Nigerians have also voiced out the need for good jobs, schools, health care, and infrastructure. In fact, from the conversations and comments I heard during protests in January, many Nigerians seemed to say that they also wanted to enjoy this freedom from want. I am pleased that Nigerian government has responded by pledging to eliminate waste and focus on infrastructure projects that Nigerians need. This is also a sign of democracy” , he said.

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