The U.S Secretary of State, John Kerry delivered a speech on Boko Haram terrorism, ethnic division and corruption on Tuesday, August 23, at a press conference in the northern city of Sokoto, and he congratulated the country on recent military successes against terrorists.
On his third visit to Nigeria in less than two years, Kerry met with traditional and religious leaders, including Sokoto Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar. During his visit to the Sultan, the US secretary appealed to Nigerians to practice equality and tolerance to “overcome deep-seated ethnic and religious divisions.”
Speaking on the issue of corruption, Mr. Kerry said that the money being lost to corruption across the world – worth 2.6 trillion dollars – was enough to provide decent livelihood for people. He said:
“This is money that can be used to improve the living standard and provide decent livelihoods for them. Corruption is not only a crime, but very dangerous and it must be tamed.
He also stated that Nigeria is also a role model in the ongoing global efforts to fight corruption, as he commended President Buhari for efforts made to entrench morality, transparency, honesty and good governance in the country.
On the fight against Boko Haram and other form of terrorism, US secretary maintained that Nigerians must do more than just denounce Boko Haram, adding that they also must act right from the grassroots level. In his opinion, youths join terrorist organizations because they cannot find meaning or opportunities in their daily lives, thereby believing Boko Haram will give them a sense of identity.
“We also know that beating Boko Haram on the battlefield is only the beginning of what we must do. Building public trust in government also requires cooperation from the military and law enforcement. Extremism can’t be defeated through repression or fear.”
Commending the Nigeria Army for gaining control of many Boko Haram territory, Kerry who is currently on a two-day visit to the country, said the United States government will continue to support Nigeria and the rest of the world in the fight against terrorism.