Nigeria, US Relations Worsens, As Govt. Cancels US Military Training

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The United States, Monday, said it has discontinued a training of Nigerian military battalion on the request of the Nigerian government.

In a statement by the United States Embassy, Monday, in Abuja, the American government said: “At the request of the Nigerian government, the United States will discontinue its training of a Nigerian Army battalion.”

The US said “Based on mutual assessment of the Nigerian Army and U.S. trainers, a third iteration of training was agreed upon with the intent of developing the battalion into a unit with advanced infantry skills.”

This purported request to cancel the training came weeks after the Nigerian Government accused the United States of deliberately refusing to sell military hardware to it to aid the fight against militant Boko Haram sect in the northeast. Nigeria-US envoy, Ade Adefuye, in November, slammed the US for also blocking the country from accessing its much-needed arms and equipment from other sources. The American Government reacted by restating its claim of human rights abuses against the Nigerian military. The US said it refused to sell low-flying fighter chopper to Nigeria because it feared Nigerian soldiers could not handle it. It also expressed fear of possible civilian casualty within the operating areas, in the eventuality of deploying the said American-manufactured choppers. It said its laws did not permit selling such military hardware to countries with records of human rights abuses. America also debunked that it blocked other countries from selling arms to Nigeria, while stating areas the country had been collaborating with the Nigerian government to defeat the terror scourge. The  US said Nigeria was free to purchase its arms anywhere it pleased.

The US said it “regret premature termination of this training, as it was to be the first in a larger planned project that would have trained additional units with the goal of helping the Nigerian Army build capacity to counter Boko Haram.”

Nigeria’s relations with the US, a key economic partner, has nosedived in recent times, including the latter suspending its purchase of Nigeria’s crude in July.

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