US pledges to support peaceful polls in 2019; also economy, etc

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America’s visiting Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has pledged his country’s support to Nigeria in the 2019 elections to achieve stability. Tillerson has however commended President Buhari on his strides in the anti-corruption war.

Mr Tillerson said Nigeria was a very important country to the U.S, stressing: “You have our support in your challenges. We will also support opportunities to expand the economy, commercial investments, and peaceful polls in 2019.”

President Muhammadu Buhari however told Tillerson that negotiations were underway, in concert with international organizations, to secure the release of hundreds of schoolgirls captured by Boko Haram terrorists.

It will be recalled that on February 19, 2018, some 110 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram in Dapchi, Yobe State. In April 2014, about 276 girls were also captured from a school in Chibok, Borno State.

President Buhari said Nigeria prefers to have the schoolgirls back alive, and that is why it has chosen negotiation, rather than military option. “We are trying to be careful. It is better to get our daughters back alive,” the President said.

He thanked America for assistance rendered in the fight against insurgency, noting that Nigerian forces are good, “but need assistance in the areas of training and equipment.”

President Buhari promised that his administration would continue to do its best to secure the country, adding that he would be in Yobe State, from where Dapchi schoolgirls were abducted, later this week “as part of my condolence and sympathy visits to areas where we have had unfortunate events.”

The President pledged free and fair polls in 2019, recalling that the then American Secretary of State, John Kerry, had visited before the 2015 polls, “and he told the party in government then, and those of us in opposition, to behave ourselves, and we did.”

The Nigerian leader assured that funds recovered from looters were being invested on development of infrastructure.