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US cancels military training on FG’s request

A statement issued yesterday by the US embassy in Abuja, it said “at the request of the Nigerian government, the United States will discontinue its…

A statement issued yesterday by the US embassy in Abuja, it said “at the request of the Nigerian government, the United States will discontinue its training of a Nigerian Army battalion.”
The statement which did not specify the type of training, said it is in two phases and conducted between April and August 2014.
According to the statement, a third phase of the training would have been conducted but “regret premature termination of this training.”
The statement noted that “based on mutual assessment of the Nigerian Army and US trainers, a third iteration of training was agreed upon with the intent of developing the battalion into a unit with advanced infantry skills.”
It stated that the collaboration had provided previously untrained civilian personnel with basic soldiering skills.
Besides, the statement noted that the continuation of the training was to be the first in a larger planned project that would have trained additional units with the goal of helping the Nigerian Army build capacity to counter Boko Haram.
“The US government will continue other aspects of the extensive bilateral security relationship, as well as all other assistance programmes,” the statement stressed.
Spokesman of the defence headquarters, Major General Chris Olukolade, could not be reached via his mobile phone. Also, a text message sent to him was not replied at the time of filing this report.
Recent relationship between Nigeria and the United States seem not to be cordial as the issue of arms sales to check the excesses of insurgent Boko Haram put both countries apart.
In fact, former head of state retired General Yakubu Gowon condemned the US for not assisting Nigeria in its desire to purchase arms.
Gowon noted that during Nigeria’s civil war between 1966 and 1970, when he was head of state, the US did not assist Nigeria against Biafra.
Also, Adebowale Adefuye, Nigerian ambassador to the United States flayed the country for allegedly refusing to sell arms to Nigeria.
Similarly, the former Kaduna State military governor retired Col Abubakar Dangiwa Umar has expressed concern that foreign countries are paying a lot of attention to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) in the Middle East but have ignored what is happening in Nigeria.
However, the US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki denied the action pointing out that there has been a great deal of US military assistance to Nigeria.
She said that since the Boko Haram abducted over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, the US coordinated intelligence with the Nigerian Army.
On the Cobra helicopters, Psaki said the US refused to sell the helicopters to Nigeria due to concerns about the ability of the military to use and maintain them.  
US ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle had said cases of human rights abuses by Nigerian troops in the North-East in the past years have stood out as a sore thumb as the United States considers the Nigerian military’s request for arms.
He described as inaccurate claims that the US had completely cut military aid for Nigeria, saying on the contrary, the two countries had continued to share training and equipment.