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‘US got Fed Govt’s nod to rescue citizen’

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From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

Defence Minister, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (retd.), has said the Federal Government approved the hostage rescue operation by the United States of America (U.S.A) forces in Nigeria.

There have been insinuations in some quarters that the rescue of an abducted American citizen in Nigeria by the United States Special military forces may have violated Nigeria’s territorial integrity.

Magashi stated this while addressing reporters after defending Defence Ministry’s 2021 budget estimates before the Senate Committee on Defence in Abuja.

The minister said the Federal Government granted the U.S permission to operate in the country being a “friendly country”.

He said: “The United States of America contacted the Nigerian government to undertake that operation. There is nothing wrong with a friendly nation taking permission to conduct an operation, which is for the mutual good of the countries. That is why we allowed it to happen.”

Asked how far Nigeria had been able to exploit the friendliness between both countries to fight insurgency, Magashi said: “It is something that can be discussed later.

“It is not meant for the consumption of the public. To be honest, but certainly we are making efforts and they have been helping us greatly in areas where we have difficulties and we are still asking for more.”

On comments that some countries are trying to block Nigeria from hav some technologies to fight insurgency,” the Minister said: “It is natural. They want to sell their equipment so they will try to make it difficult for developing countries to have what they want.”

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