Abuja, Nigeria - The Nigeria-United States Bi-National Commission (BNC) ended its working group meeting on good governance, transparency and integrity on Tuesday in Abuja with a commitment to ensure credible and peaceful 2015 elections in Nigeria devoid of violence.
A communiqué issued in Abuja said both countries recognized the importance of peaceful and credible elections to the prosperous and democratic development of a united Nigeria.
They agreed that ensuring the credibility of the electoral process would require adequate preparations for activities at all stages of the electoral cycle, adding that they also recognized the importance of continuing a programme of electoral reforms as outlined by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
On security of INEC officers and materials during the elections, both countries identified the relevance of the security services in working with the INEC to safeguard election materials, maintain the safety and security of election officials, including INEC and party agents and election observers, and the electorate.
US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ms Linda Thomas-Greenfield, expressed the commitment of the US to assist INEC, civil society organisations and other stakeholders in conducting free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections that reflected the will of the people.
The Permanent Secretary of the Nigerian Ministry of Justice, Alhaji Abdullahi Yola, expressed the determination of the authorities to prevent thuggery and all forms of violence during the election period.
'The government of Nigeria is determined to ensure that the votes of Nigerian electorates count in the subsequent elections...To achieve this, the Government of Nigeria will collaborate with civil society organizations and the media to educate the electorate and other stakeholders on electoral procedures and reforms as well as political party discipline and requirement.'
On the fight against corruption both countries agreed to increase collaboration in the investigation and prosecution of individuals and groups involved in money laundering, illicit finance and related economic crimes.
The next session of the working group will be hosted by the United States at a date to be mutually agreed.