US Rescue Operation Was Approved by Nigeria – Defence Minister

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The Federal Government on Tuesday formally reacted to the rescue of a kidnapped United States citizen by the US military saying the rescue mission was not without the approval of the Nigerian government.

The operation, it said, was not a violation of Nigeria’s sovereignty.

There had been insinuation in some quarters the rescue of a kidnapped American citizen in Nigeria by the United States Special military Forces may have violated the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

But Minister of Defence Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) on Tuesday clarified Nigeria was aware and approved of the operation.

He spoke while responding to questions from reporters after defending the Ministry of Defence 2021 Budget estimates before the Senate Committee on Defence, in Abuja.

The Minister said that Federal Government granted the USA permission to operate in the country being a “friendly country.”

Responding to questions on the need for the Nigerian military to deploy sophomore technology in the fight against insecurity; Magashi said Nigeria is handicapped at the moment by some “so-called developed countries who want the country to remain the way it is and keep running to them for help.

He however said the country was doing the best it can with what is available to the military.

The Minister further said that Nigeria will explore the current partnership with the United States to tackle insurgency in the country.

Magashi said: “The United States of America contacted the Nigerian government to undertake that operation.

“There is nothing wrong with a friendly nation taking permission to conduct an operation which is for the mutual good of the countries. That is why we allowed it to happen.”

Asked how far Nigeria has been able to exploit the friendliness between both countries to fight insurgency, the Minister said: “It is something that can be discussed later.

“It is not meant for the consumption of the public. To be honest but certainly we are making efforts and they have been helping us greatly in areas where we have difficulties and we are still asking for more.”

On comments that some countries were trying to block Nigeria from owning some technologies to fight insurgency, the Minister said: “It is natural. They want to sell their equipment so they will try to make it difficult for developing countries to have what they want.”