Foreign Affairs Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru
By Tokunbo Adedoja
Senior Nigerian and United States officials will begin a two-day high-level meeting tomorrow in Washington DC where discussions would focus on governance, regional security, energy, and agriculture.
The high-level meeting, which would be attended by about 41 senior Nigerian officials, was at the weekend described by the State Department as the, “largest ever gathering of the US-Nigeria Binational Commission”.
The meeting will kick off on Monday with a speech on “Enduring partnerships for a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria”, by the Deputy Secretary of State, Bill Burns, and another one on “Advancing the US-Nigeria strategic partnership”, by Foreign Affairs Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru.
That session would be followed by a closed session where presentations would be made on “Defining Future US-Nigeria Military Engagement”, by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, James Miller, and “Legislative frameworks for security and government oversight” by Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba.
During that session, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State would also make presentation on “States’ role in governance and growth”, while Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, would speak on “Seizing Nigeria’s potential for political unity and economic growth”.
In one of the sessions, Borno State governor Kashim Shettima would deliver a presentation on “Northern views on violent extremism and government’s role”, while discussions would also be held on, “Serving community needs during military and police operations; addressing challenges of IEDs, ordnance disposal, and post-blast investigations.”
There will also be a session on progress on Governance, Transparency and Integrity, where Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would speak on the “Lessons learned from 2011 elections”.
Other sessions would focus on Federal and State efforts at anti-corruption; power sector reform and making it work; building effective civil-military and civil-police units; effective strategic communications; agriculture as business; and harnessing Nigeria’s resources for development.
Some of the senior Nigerian officials slated for the meeting include Nigerian Ambassador to US, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye; Inspector General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Abubakar; Coordinator, Counter-Terrorism ONSA, Nigeria, Major-General Sarkin Y. Bello; Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Vice Marshal Shehu; Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi; NNPC Group Managing Director, Austen Oniwon; Prof Barth Nnaji (Power minister); Olusegun Aganga (Trade and Investment minister); Adewumi Adesina (Agriculture minister); Taraba State Governor Danbaba Suntai; EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde and Solicitor General of the Federation, Mallam Ahmed Yola.