The United States Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Samantha Power, on Thursday maintained that rescuing the over 200 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, Borno State in 2014 remained her government’s priority.
Power spoke with State House correspondents shortly after she met behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The envoy who was joined by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, said in order to ensure the abducted girls’ freedom, her government had been sharing information with the Nigerian authorities in the last few months.
She said, “The issue of the Chibok girls and other abductions are of huge priority to the US and it was the issue I discussed at length with President Buhari today (Thursday).
“We had moved to provide the information and intelligence needed to the Nigerian authorities.
“We have in recent months been able to allocate additional information sharing platforms and additional surveillance to aid the fight against Boko Haram.
“We will not rest, we will continue to deepen our partnership and be more effective with our partners on the ground.
“We are determined to support Nigeria and other neighbouring countries’ efforts to secure more rescues of adopted people and releases in the days and weeks ahead.”
Power also said the recent video of the abducted girls released by the Boko Haram sect was part of the discussion she had with Buhari.
She said the talk also centred on the need to put mechanism in place where parents of abducted persons could be given information and where the video could be examined.
“What we talked about was the importance of pursuing every need related to the Chibok girls and making sure we have mechanism whereby parents and family members who have been adopted by Boko haram can be given information; whereby videos can be examined and family members offer their feedbacks on their impression on the videos.
“We need to have a process by which family of those who are missing work more constructively with the government and indeed with those involved in the operations in trying to rescue the girls.
“That was the nature of our discussion with the president. The recent video was one part of our discussion and the larger puzzle that will need to be assembled,” she added.
Meanwhile, thee United States President, Barack Obama, has sent a 42-member high-power delegation to Nigeria in support of the three priority areas of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Leader of the delegation, Ms Samantha Power, said on Thursday in Abuja that the three areas – security, economy and governance remain the focus of the delegation’s visit to Nigeria.
Power at a joint press conference with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said Nigeria remains a strategic partner to the U.S. not only in Africa but globally.
“As you (Onyeama) indicated, Obama has sent me and members of his cabinet to lead an inter-agency delegation to Nigeria,” she said.
Power, who is U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, said the delegation would reflect on the three pillars of the present administration which are security, economy and governance.
She explained that the partnership is so much bigger and would bear fruits to include other aspects of our partnership.
“It will include dealing with Boko Haram, trade, economic development, the strengthening of institutions and the fight that you the country is waging against corruption.
“All of these are intrinsically central for the people of Nigeria who want to live in a secured environment and dignity and have maximum opportunity.”
According to her, all the other aspects that the visit will cover include focus on critical areas for dealing with the emergency situation, caused by the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast.
She also said the Nigeria-U.S Bi-National Commission meeting, which held in Washington in March, had started yielding fruitful results.
“It’s been a very fruitful dialogue and I think there is a lot of homework that has come out of it.
“And there are a number of issues which I look forward to discussing with you; that’s how we move forward in stronger ways,” she said.