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US says Kerry didn’t meet Muslims alone

07 September 2016, 21:37Tony Smart

Abuja - The United States government has dismissed claims that the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, during his last visit to the country met with only Muslim leaders, Punch reports.

This was stated by the Deputy Public Affairs Officer at the US Consulate General in Lagos, Frank Sellin, the US Embassy in Nigeria, following an inquiry concerning a $300m loot Kerry promised would be returned to Nigeria.

Sellin said, “In Sokoto, Secretary Kerry met with both Christian and Muslim leaders to discuss religious tolerance and ways to counter violent extremism affecting all Nigerians. The Embassy is in communication with CAN to clarify the media reports and any misunderstandings.”

While reacting to the promise made by John Kerry about the $300m loot, Sellin said he cannot give a specific date when Nigeria’s stolen money stashed abroad will be returned to the country.

“In regard to asset recovery, the United States has and will continue to support Nigeria’s efforts to recover assets stolen from the Nigerian people. As you know, investigation of complex international money laundering and corruption, including the identification and recovery of assets, can be challenging and time- consuming, particularly when legal challenges and numerous banks and jurisdictions are involved,” Sellin said.

Because the processes or asset recovery are complex and involve litigation in different jurisdictions, he said the US “cannot provide a precise timeline on recovery of assets.”

He, however, noted that the recovery required cooperation between Nigerian and foreign security agencies.

The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, had accused the United States government of stoking ethnic and religious divisions in Nigeria, after the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, visited the Sultan of Sokoto and northern governors according to News24.

The group said Christians were excluded from Kerry’s visit.

Kerry travelled to Sokoto where he met the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, who is the head of Nigeria’s Muslim community. He later met President Muhammadu Buhari, before meeting governors of northern states.

Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode also criticised John Kerry over statements he made during his visit to the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar.

Kerry had during his visit to the Sultan commended Abubakar for promoting religious tolerance and understanding among Nigerians.

The former minister, however, did not state the reason why he condemned Kerry's statements.

- News 24


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