U.S secretary of state John Kerry has urged the Nigerian government to build trust with its people as a way of fighting corruption and religious extremism.
Kerry said it was the only way Nigeria’s battle against Boko Haram will succeed.
“One of our tasks, one of our central tasks and almost every single religious leader I just heard in the other room talked about this task, has to be to remove the vulnerabilities in our own position. To effectively counter violent extremism, we have to ensure that military action is coupled with a reinforced commitment to the values this region and all of Nigeria has a long legacy of supporting – values like integrity, good governance, education, compassion, security and respect for human rights”, Kerry said
During the Goodluck Jonathan presidency, the United States blocked arms sales and ended training of Nigerian troops partly over human rights concerns such as treatment of captured insurgents.
The visiting secretary of state did not say whether Nigeria’s human rights records had improved to resume arms sales but said President Buhari had made “a strong start at all levels of government” since taking office in May 2015.
Kerry told his audience at a press conference, “Building public trust in government also requires cooperation from law enforcement and the military. It is understandable that in the wake of terrorist activity, some people are tempted to crack down on everyone and anyone who could theoretically pose some sort of a threat. I caution against that today. Extremism cannot be defeated through repression or just creating fear.”
Nigeria’s military announced it had killed several leaders of Boko Haram in an airstrike including the leader of one faction, Abubakar Shekau.