US Reveals Why Nigeria Terminated Military Training Deal

James Entwistle

By Gloria Emmanuel               Nigerian Government terminated the military training agreement it had with the United States because of its inability to meet its part of the deal, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle has revealed.
He explained that it was agreed that Nigeria would provide equipment for the training while the US would provide world class military personnel to train a Battalion up to international standards to combat terrorism.
Mr. Entwistle, who featured on a Channels Television programme monitored on Friday by Prompt News said, while the US brought the trainers down, the Nigerian Military High Command was unable to provide the equipment for the trainers to work.
He however, insisted the relationship between the US and Nigeria remains cordial despite the termination of the military training agreement.
His words, “We have good relations with the Air Force, Navy and Army at the working level. We are in touch everyday working together.
“Late last year, I told President Jonathan that the US wants Nigeria to win the war on terror and we stand ready to help in any and appropriate way.
“We have already started training, at the request of Nigerian government, to train one of its battalions up to a world class standard.
“We brought in the best military trainers in the world. But the agreement with the government was that we will provide the trainers in order to do this properly, the Nigerian army will provide the equipment needed to do this training.
“It is a partnership. We are doing this together. It is not something we are doing for you.
“Training started, but sadly it got to a point that we had to stop because the equipment was not available.
“And after several weeks of waiting, we could not keep the trainers here and the Nigerian government decided to end the training.
“I say this with great regret, it was a great opportunity to train a world class battalion but unfortunately it stopped at the request of your government.
“But his doesn’t have to derail our cooperation. Whatever reasons were for that, we continue to move forward. As I have said, could we do training again in the future, sure everything is possible.
“But we have to talk about the details very carefully from the beginning because we do not want to experience this again.
“I don’t think the US and Nigeria are experience strain relations. I think we are in good shape”.
Speaking on the refusal of the US to sell arms especially Cobra Helicopter to Nigeria, Mr Entwistle maintained that it should not suggest that there is an arms deal embargo against Nigeria.
According to him, “Ideas that there are arms embargo and that the US has cut Nigeria off is nonsense.
“No country is doing more to support Nigeria in its fight against terror right now. We can’t talk about the details in public but I can assure you that we are with you every step of the way.
“We have a number of discussions right now for various pieces of equipment in the air, on the ground and army personnel carriers. We share information everyday with your army that they can use operationally.
“The notion that we have cut you off is nonsense.
“When we transfer or consider transferring arms to any country, by US law, there is a process that we have to go through.
“We look at; does this make sense for the country and other human rights considerations. Sometimes the answer is no much more often the answer is yes.
“You were right about the Cobra Helicopter when the answer after careful deliberation was no.
“We have a number of other things in the pipeline. So that water under the bridge is focused on the present and the future and the cooperation is excellent, the US Envoy said”.
Prompt News recalls that following the refusal of the US to sell arms to Nigeria, the Federal Government approached South Africa but the deal was botched as it turned to scandal.

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