The United States has announced the cancellation of the training of a battalion of the Nigeria Army, at the request of the Federal Government.
It said that the first two phases of the training were conducted between April and August, 2014, noting that it had provided untrained civilian personnel with basic soldiering skills.
A statement from the Information Office of the US Embassy in Abuja, on Monday, regretted what it described as the premature termination of the exercise programme, which it said would have trained the Nigerian soldiers to build their capacity to counter the Boko Haram terrorists
The US government, however, said it would continue other aspects of the extensive bilateral security relationship, as well as all other assistance programmes.
The statement read, “At the request of the Nigerian government, the United States will discontinue its training of a Nigerian Army battalion. The first two phases of training were conducted between April and August 2014, and had provided previously untrained civilian personnel with basic soldiering skills.
“Based on mutual assessment of the Nigerian Army and U.S. trainers, a third iteration of training was agreed upon with the intent of developing the battalion into a unit with advanced infantry skills.
“We regret the premature termination of this training, as it 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.”
But a source in a strategic office close to the Federal Government operations, said Nigeria had more pressing problems to deal with than the training of military personnel, noting that members of the Nigeria Army “are well trained already and they don’t need any further training from the Americans.”
The source said, “Nigeria is facing a more pressing problems now; we need weapons to combat Boko Haram and not training. The Americans are supplying weapons and assisting Iraq to fight ISIS, but they are talking of training here. Is Nigeria not facing the same threat as Iraq that they are assisting? What we need are weapons and not training, our security personnel have all the training they required.”
The Director, Defence Information, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, could not be reached for comment as calls to his line failed to connect.
When contacted, the Director, Public Affairs Division, Foreign Ministry, Ogbole Ahmedu-Ode, said he had no information on why the training was terminated by the Federal Government.