US Secretary of State, John Kerry had a bilateral meeting with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Palace in Lagos on Sunday, 25th January. During the visit, Kerry urged both sides of the presidential candidates in the forthcoming election to refrain from violence. “Nobody gains by violence, nobody gains by turning a political disagreement into a killing spree … The proof will be in the actions that are taken in the course of the election and afterwards,” Kerry said.
He continues: “Anyone who participates in, plans or calls for … violence against the civilian population must be held accountable, including by ineligibility for an American visa.” …… “Perpetrators of such violence would not be welcome in the United States of America.”
In response to request to delay the elections to allow more time for voter cards distribution, Kerry added: “It is imperative that Nigeria holds its elections on time.”
Also, as part of Kerry’s visit, he had a meeting with the APC presidential candidate, Gen, Muhammadu Buhari.
— Lola Shoneyin (@lolashoneyin) January 25, 2015
The other hot topic which the US Secretary of State was meant to discuss with Nigerian Leaders also included the Boko Haram terrorist threat and the Presidential Palace released the following communique after Kerry’s meeting with President Jonathan:
“This is why we are together engaged in a struggle against a common enemy that promotes terror, fear, division, and violates human rights, most especially of women and girls, with complete impunity. Winning the fight against Boko Haram in Nigeria and West Africa is absolutely essential to beat back the tide of religious extremism around the world.”
“Our security forces have been working tirelessly and courageously to achieve this goal. I reaffirmed for Secretary Kerry that Nigeria is strongly committed to building the multinational task force to fight Boko Haram in partnership with Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin Republic under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission. Indeed, I called publicly for such a regional approach at the African leaders summit in Paris in May 2014 and more recently in multilateral meetings.”
Photo Credit: Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters