Nigeria, America relationship worsen
The face-off between Nigeria and the United States over the commitment and sincerity of the US military in assisting Nigeria to fight the Boko Haram insurgency worsened within the week.
This followed an allegation by a top Nigerian intelligence source that US trainers incited Nigerian soldiers to mutiny.
The source told SUNDAY PUNCH that recent mutiny by Nigerian soldiers was as a result of the ‘negative teachings’ by US trainers, adding that it was a major reason the Federal Government stopped the US from training Nigerian soldiers on counter-terrorism.
But the US in its reaction, through the Press Attache of the US Embassy in Abuja, Sean J. McIntosh, described the allegations as baseless.
She said, “The allegations are baseless. The third phase of training did not occur because the Nigerian Army failed to provide the necessary equipment for the training.”
The US, as well as the UK, France and China, had offered help in human and technical capacities to deal with the wider problem of terrorism in North-eastern Nigeria.
But the relationship between the two countries worsened when the US refused to sell military hardware, especially cobra helicopters, to Nigeria to prosecute the campaign against Boko Haram.
The security source, who pleaded anonymity, said the security chiefs and the Federal Government doubted the genuineness of the motive of the US security experts in the country.
The source added that despite the presence of the US experts, there was no noticeable impact on the task of recovering the abducted girls of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok.
He added that the US forces had not given the expected intelligence that could have been utilised by the nation’s security forces against Boko Haram.
“Our investigations show that some of the soldiers that were involved in mutiny received training in the US. These trainings often highlight negative things about the Federal Government.
“Another thing Nigerians should note is that since the Americans came here purportedly to help get the Chibok girls, they have not done anything. What have they done with all their technology and might? Is it not suspicious?”
When asked if the US would be asked to withdraw its intelligence staff from Nigeria, the source said, “They are a super power. It might not be easy to tell them to leave.”
But the US embassy spokesman said his country had not received any directive or request from Nigeria to withdraw its intelligence personnel who were brought into the country to assist with the rescue of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls
He said, “The US continues to support Nigerian efforts to bring about the safe recovery of those kidnapped and to advise the Nigerian government on its response. Staffing of the US government interdisciplinary team in Nigerian remains steady since the initial surge following the kidnapping.”