The United States military has said it will help the Nigerian security forces eliminate accidental bombing of civilian targets.
The US Principal Deputy National Security Advisor, Jonathan Finer who made ths known on Monday during an interview with select journalists in Abuja on Monday, said the US takes the accidental bombing of civilians by the Nigerian Air Force seriously.
The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard attended the interaction along with other senior officials.
Finer said cooperation with the Nigerian armed forces could be helpful in this regard, stressing that America’s established collaboration with the military would move to address this development.
“Obviously, one of the areas we are going to work with the Nigerian military is reducing unintended casualties. That’s something we as a government and as military take extremely seriously.
“No country is perfect in this regard, it is important to point that out. This is another area I think cooperation can actually be helpful. The collaboration we already established is going to have to continue to move forward so we can avoid any unintended consequence,” the Principal Deputy National Security Advisor said.
In her remark, Leonard said the US was encouraged by the openness and transparency the military displayed by acknowledging the incidents, noting that such accidents do occur.
“In any military including our own, sometimes things happen. The question is, what do you do to find out what transpired; where the weak link was, how to make that better,” she said.
Finer cautioned on speculations that the Super Tucano might be deployed against secessionist agitators in the South-East, stressing that the sales agreement was explicit about where the platform would be deployed.
He described the jets as an important platform for security, particularly in the North, while expressing pleasure at the conclusion of the deal.
The security adviser noted that the Nigerian military was interested in deepening relations with the US, hinting that the armed forces had expressed the desire to acquire more hardware.
“They (Nigerian armed forces) want to deepen the security relationship with us, including possibly the provision of additional security platforms which is going to require significant steps on their side.
“They have taken some significant steps already and I think there are others they could take that could give us a greater degree of confidence and we are going to continue to work with them on the process,” he added.
The US ambassador speaking on the secessionist agitations in the South-East, told the Federal Government that addressing the issue required more than policing and military capacity.
She said; “While the threats are different in different places, we had agreed that underlying these is the lack of opportunities that drive people into these things. What the United States government does is expanding opportunities.”
Leonard debunked speculations that the US was trying to prevent Nigerians from visiting America by denying them visa, pointing out that the COVID-19 pandemic affected the visa processing capacity of the US Mission.
She disclosed that Nigerians who needed to travel urgently could indicate it in their visa applications and explain to the consular officers the reason for the urgency.