The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle said on Saturday that the people of Nigeria have no better friend that the United States.
Entwistle stated this in his remarks to mark the 239th Independence Anniversary of the US, which was commemorated at the US Embassy in Abuja.
He explained that Nigeria and the US had known “deep wounds and devastating losses” throughout their histories, adding that, “time after time the people of both nations have overcome those tragedies.”
“I told former President Goodluck Jonathan when I arrived in Nigeria in November 2013, and Secretary of State John Kerry told President Muhammadu Buhari when they met immediately after inauguration.
“I am sure President Barack Obama will tell President Buhari when he receives him in Oval Office at the White House on July 20.
“The people of Nigeria have no better friend than the United States.
“In my country, our commitment to democracy is right there in our Declaration of Independence.
“Here in Nigeria, you demonstrated to the world your commitment to democracy in historic elections earlier this year.
“In both of our great countries, commitment to democracy is deeply woven into our status as free and independent peoples,” he said.
The US envoy pointed out that Nigeria and the U.S had maintained a robust engagement for many years adding that the partnership with Nigeria “has run deep”.
Entwistle said that US had worked with the Federal Government on a host of issues like elections, security, the Niger Delta, fighting infectious diseases and spurring broad-based, inclusive economic growth, among others.
According to him, US stands with every Nigerian who believes that the country can be healthier, safer and more prosperous. “For me, this is an exciting time to be in Nigeria. In the past year, we’ve seen Nigerian doctors and nurses defeat Ebola.
“We’ve seen the Nigerian military reclaim territory from Boko Haram. And most of all, we’ve seen the Nigerian people go to the polls and defy expectations, made their voices heard as they insisted that their votes count.
“Thanks to them, the light of Nigerian democracy shines brightly across the continent,” he said.
The US envoy said that as Nigeria fought Boko Haram and rebuilt the North East, the US would continue to help in every appropriate way.
“As you lead the efforts to provide humanitarian aid to those driven from their communities and help them return home, we assist with food, medical care, and education programmes.
“As you fight corruption, we offer technical assistance, training for investigators and prosecutors, and a commitment to ensure that no stolen funds are laundered through our banking system.
“As you improve the business climate, we encourage trade and investment. As you continue privatisation of your power grid, through President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, we stand ready to go.
“Among other things, we will help companies invest in building more electricity infrastructure, especially environmentally-friendly power generation.
“As you increase your commitment to healthcare and education, we support those efforts too,” he said.
NAN reports that the event was attended by the Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara and Edo Governor Adams Oshiomhole and wife.
The Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, several envoys, National Assembly members, captains of industries and top government functionaries also graced the occasion.