United States Deputy Assistant Secretary for West Africa and Economic and Regional Affairs in the Department of State, Peter Barlerin, has said the complexities in his country’s legal system were responsible for the slow recovery of looted funds stashed away by Nigeria’s public officers.
Barlerin, who spoke in an interview with online publication, Premium Times, however, said his government was committed to ensuring Nigeria got all its looted funds kept in America.
He said: “The U.S. Department of Justice is working very closely with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on behalf of the Nigerian government to repatriate the funds.
“U.S. has a legal system that takes time to get these funds released, subject to legal challenges that can take time to answer. But, I can assure you, we are committed to working with Nigeria to get those funds repatriated.”
On the security situation in the country, especially in the North East, the envoy said: “It is in the interest of the U.S., Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, to have a strong Nigeria with a strong military and security forces that can protect Nigeria’s borders and its people.
“We are doing this in a number of areas. We have to train two army battalions. We are working with the Nigerian Army to provide intelligence information on Boko Haram and the fight against insurgents.
“We are working to improve police in judicial capacity, especially in the north eastern Nigeria, so that police and judicial authorities can restore and maintain civilian order in those areas that have been liberated from Boko Haram.
“Our hearts go out to the Chibok girls who have been kidnapped and their families who have been left without the girls for so long. We are working actively with the Nigerian military to try to secure their liberation.
“We welcome the release of the 21 Chibok girls from captivity. We will continue to work actively with the Nigerian authorities to secure the release of the remaining girls, who have been in captivity with Boko Haram.
“In terms of humanitarian assistance, the U.S. government is the largest bilateral donor in the north east. Although we work in the North east region, we also work in the Lake Chad basin to partner countries.”
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