U.S., Nigeria Launch Binational Commission

Posted by Johnnie Carson
April 6, 2010
Nigerians Wave U.S. and Nigerian Flags

About the Author: Johnnie Carson serves as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

Today, I witnessed a step forward in one of the United States' most important and strategic relationships in Africa. Secretary Clinton warmly welcomed Nigeria's Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, for the signing of the framework establishing the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission. Signed in the State Department's Treaty Room -- an elliptical room symbolizing the work of diplomacy around the world -- the Binational Commission represents the kind of relationship I hope we will one day build with every sub-Saharan African nation.

Nigeria has come a long way. Some forty years ago, I began my first tour as a newly-minted Foreign Service Officer in Lagos. Arriving just seven years after its independence, the Nigeria I found was one locked in a brutal civil war. Over one million lives were lost during the conflict. Despite the devastation, I wanted to contribute to a better future for Nigeria.

In many ways, Nigeria has made truly remarkable gains. A leader in Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), it has helped bring peace to Sierra Leone and Liberia. Nigeria provides over 5,800 soldiers to UN peacekeeping operations globally and is poised to bolster international peace and security from its seat on the United Nations Security Council. With its abundance of human and natural resources, Nigeria is an emerging economic powerhouse, with one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

With the launch of the Binational Commission, we expect the United States and Nigeria will engage in serious, high-level talks on issues of mutual interest. The Commission's four working groups provide the structure of this engagement. We'll first convene the Good Governance, Transparency, and Integrity Working Group, as electoral reform and improved administration are needed to help Nigeria achieve free, fair and peaceful elections in 2011. The group will also address corruption by seeking to build Nigeria's institutional capacity and prosecutorial efforts. The Niger Delta and Regional Security Cooperation Working Group will support Nigeria's efforts to provide immediate and tangible development and economic opportunity to the people of the Niger Delta. The Energy and Investment Working Group will work to improve transparency, administration, and performance of the power generation and hydrocarbon sectors. And finally, the Food Security and Agriculture Working Group will work to increase reliable access to food in Nigeria and the region through improvements in agriculture and trade policy.

With the successful launch of the Binational Commission, I look forward to the U.S. and Nigeria becoming ever-closer partners.

Related Content:U.S.-Africa Policy Under the Obama Administration



Ekenyerengozi C.
April 7, 2010

Ekenyerengozi in Nigeria writes:

The U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission is a big step in the right direction in the consummation of the bilateral relations between the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

If we had such a commission immediately after the independence of Nigeria in 1960, I believe the intervention of the United States would have saved us from a catastrophic civil war and hundreds of thousands of lives would not have been lost in Eastern Nigeria. My elder sister and two younger brothers would not have died of Kwashiorkor in the refugee camp of Biafra. And I would have been a happier and safer Nigerian writer today.

I hope the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission will help us in the nation building of a New Nigeria in the leadership of Africa in the comity of nations.

Maryland, USA
April 7, 2010

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Hi, Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson :)

I think this is a great beginning ,too a more engaging and positive future for our to countries..:)

Nice to hear about the progress thats being made between our countries.

I hope everybody has a good week..Cya Guys...

ubochi r.
April 20, 2010

Ubochi R. in Nigeria writes:

i want united states involvement in reshaping nigeria i dont mind be part of it and render my services on my capacity

Ekenyerengozi C.
May 13, 2010

Ekenyerengozi M.C. in Nigeria writes:

The U.S. must not accept corruption in Nigeria otherwise the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission will fail.

The new President of Nigeria, Mr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan must do the right thing by telling Nigerians the truth on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)'s case against his first wife Mrs. Patience Jonathan.

A group of Nigerians have asked him to address the case of money laundering implicating his wife, but he has deliberately ignored it and is witch-hunting Mr. James Ibori, the former governor of Delta state and a fellow member of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP), the most corrupt political party in Africa. Many key members of the PDP have been indicted in the Halliburton Bribery Scandal and Daimler bribery scandal.

It is hypocritical to dine and wine with those who are either corrupt public officials or accomplices of corrupt members of the same indicted political party in Nigeria.

August 13, 2010

Deinma B. in Nigeria writes:

Please l need to know what the Binational commission is doing in the Niger Delta area in respect to good governance, economic opportunities, youth development and Self help which the commission had promised and that are lacking in the region? My question is geared towards resolving the many challenges facing the people in the region. The Government especially Bayelsa State had failed to provided the needed basic needs of education,health,road and access to pipeborne water. I advice that US government should stop to launch programs in Abuja but should engage the rural poor in their communities in other to bring about the needed development in the state and nation.
Thank you


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