Rescuing Chibok girls is our priority in Nigeria, says US Deputy Secretary of State

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ABUJA – The United States Deputy Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on Thursday said that rescuing the abducted schoolgirls of Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State is its priority.

The US also stressed its commitment to give Nigeria a comprehensive support package in tackling the Boko Haram menace.

Blinken, made the remarks during a press briefing at the embassy in Abuja, said defeating Boko Haram requires a comprehensive approach that will involve the region.

According to him, this includes not only a strong military response, but also sustainable security for liberated areas, good governance, development, and opportunity for the civilian population.

“It also requires a strong commitment to human rights, the absence of which only alienates the people and drives them toward Boko Haram,” he added.

The deputy secretary of state assured that as Nigeria develops the comprehensive approach to its problems, the United States will deepen its support.

“We have been working very much to assist the government of Nigeria. For example, we have been providing training, equipment, advice, information, intelligence sharing, logistic support. We recently established a $40-million fund to global security fund; that is a sign to promote joint effort with the Lake Chad countries to strengthen cross border security, cooperation and capacity to combat Boko Haram,” he said.

Also, Blinken stated that the US government, as part of the support package, released 5 million dollars to the Multinational Joint Task Force towards strengthening the force against the insurgents.

He said assured that his country would begin training for investigators and training on border security, post blast investigation and crisis management.

Blinken, who noted that so many internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country need help, promised that the US government would step up humanitarian assistance to the people in need.

“So all of these are comprehensive support package for Nigeria,” he said.

On how the US government is assisting in the rescue of the abducted girls, the deputy secretary of state said: “The Chibok girls remain a priority for us.”

“I know there are many more young girls and women who are missing. Our focus is on them as well. We will continue to provide assistance to the government in an attempt to look for them, find them and bring them home,” he said.

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