Clinton, Jonathan hold closed-door meeting

::::ABUJA (AFP) – President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday held a closed-door meeting with the visiting U.S. Secretary of State, Mrs Hillary Clinton, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who arrived the Villa at 3.57 p.m., was received by the Foreign Minister, Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru and was expected to offer assistance in helping the country stop a worsening Islamist insurgency.

Her visit to Nigeria comes with Jonathan under growing pressure to stop the violence in the northern and central regions of the country.

Clinton, who was accompanied by officials of the U. S. Embassy in Nigeria and some diplomats, also had another meeting with Security Chiefs.

They include all the Service Chiefs, the National Security Adviser, retired Col. Sambo Dasuki and the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar.

It was reliably gathered that security issues in Nigeria and other African countries were discussed during the more than two and half hours meeting between Clinton and the Security Chiefs.

Islamist militant group Boko Haram has killed more than 1,400 people in northern and central Nigeria since 2010, according to Human Rights Watch.

“(Clinton) will be renewing our offers of assistance and help to the Nigerians,” a senior State Department official said.

“This is a problem for Nigeria, but also, northern Nigeria borders Cameroon, it borders Niger. We are concerned that this kind of radical network could undermine the security of neighbouring states.”

The US offer of assistance is to include helping to develop Nigeria’s investigative procedures, including forensics, according to the official.

“We can help them develop mechanisms for tracking and determining individuals who are likely to be engaged in supporting Boko Haram actively,” the official said.

Washington would also be willing to help Nigeria develop an intelligence coordination centre that would assist the country in integrating information, the official said.

Clinton will spend several hours in the Nigerian capital Abuja before travelling to Ghana for the funeral of president John Atta Mills, who died on July 24.

She has been on an African tour since July 31, having already visited Senegal, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Malawi and South Africa. She is also expected to briefly visit Benin.

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