The Nigerian Government has expressed gratitude to the United States of America (USA) for its development assistance to the country and support in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorism in the North-East.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mustapha Suleiman, lauded the US for its assistance on Thursday in Abuja during the commemoration of the 243rd Independence of the US organised by the US Embassy in Nigeria.
Represented by Obioma Nzewuji, Director, American and Caribbean Affairs of the Ministry, the Permanent Secretary said that the U.S has been very supportive to Nigeria in different fields, urging both countries to sustain the collaborations.
“Today, as we join the United States in commemorating its independence anniversary, we celebrate the very essence of American progress, the spirit that defines the unity of its people for more than two centuries.
“Both countries have collaborated in different fields and the United States have demonstrated to be a trusted and reliable friend to Nigeria.
“We express profound appreciation to the United States government for the various forms of assistance given to Nigeria over the years, especially more recently in our fight against insurgency in the North- East.
“The humanitarian aids provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is a demonstration of goodwill and cordiality existing between our two countries.
“The US has been very supportive to Nigeria during and after the just concluded elections.
“It is a good time for Nigeria and United States relations and I hope both countries will continue to sustain this momentum in the years to come,” Suleiman said.
Also giving his remarks, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington lauded the potentials of Nigeria, adding that the greatest resources Nigeria has are the people of Nigeria, even as he admonished Nigerians to build on their human resources.
Symington explained that the wealth of Nigeria in human resources rest in the unity of the country in spite of its ethnic diversities, stressing that Nigeria had effectively overcome the challenge of ethnic diversities and have built the country into a “Big Idea”.
“The greatest resource Nigerians have is themselves as individuals. Nigeria is more than a country, Nigeria is an idea, the idea of Nigeria is that you can take 500 tribes, put them in a place and get them to think of themselves as one nation bond in freedom, peace and unity.
“This is no easy task. We in the United States have been after unity, and freedom and unity since before the song was written in 1812. “The idea is that Nigeria is bigger than Nigerians, this idea of bringing the world together so that we truly are not just one nation under God and indivisible but one family under God and indivisible.
“This is the greatest challenge the world faces today and I am convinced that we got the answer. “Thank you for coming here to celebrate this idea that we all have the right to live and to unite in freedom and prosperity and justice for all,” Symington said.
Cultural Affairs Officer of the US Embassy, Sterling Tilley said that the Embassy is working to strengthen the relations between Nigeria and The US, adding that Nigeria is number one country in Africa that is important to the US policies for the whole continent.
He also refuted reports that the Embassy was unnecessarily denying visas to Nigerians seeking to travel to the US, pointing out that the Consular section does not deny visas to those who are legitimately entitled to visas.