Nigeria

Mike Pompeo phones Geoffrey Onyeama over AfDB crisis

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for a 'new era of cooperation' [Petr David Josek-AP]

The United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, on Tuesday phoned the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to discuss the roles of the African Development Bank and multilateral initiatives in accelerating economic recovery and regional security.

The two men also reviewed Nigeria’s progress in fighting COVID-19 and the $30 million US assistance that has helped to strengthen the nation’s public health and humanitarian response.

President of the AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, had been in the eye of the storm over allegations of impropriety levelled against him by some whistleblowers working in the bank.

The bank’s Ethics’ Committee which investigated the allegations gave him a clean bill which was accepted by the Board of Governors, but the United States rejected the report and demanded a fresh probe by an independent body.

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The board subsequently authorised an independent review of the Ethics Committee report on Akinwumi, who is due for re-election as the sole presidential candidate, having received the backing of Nigeria and other African countries.

A statement by the Office of the US Department of State Spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, said Pompeo and Onyeama agreed that transparency and accountability would drive democratic and inclusive development.

The statement said the US also condoled with Nigeria over last week’s Islamic State of West Africa attacks in the North-East which claimed many lives.

It read, “Secretary Pompeo expressed condolences for the loss of life in recent ISIS West Africa attacks in the northeast, and the two discussed Nigeria’s ongoing civilian protection and counter-terrorism efforts.

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“Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Onyeama reviewed Nigeria’s progress in fighting COVID-19 and the $30 million in recent U.S. assistance that has helped to strengthen Nigeria’s public health and humanitarian response.”

“They also discussed the African Development Bank and the constructive role of multilateral initiatives in accelerating economic recovery and regional security, and they agreed that transparency and accountability will drive democratic and inclusive development,” the statement added.

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