Major General Bashir Magashi

Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), minister of defence, on Tuesday at the national assembly in Abuja told reporters that the United States of America have not violated Nigeria’s Sovereignty, stressing that the government was fully aware of the operation by the U.S special forces and that the federal government granted U.S permission to carry out the rescue of its citizen kidnapped by bandits in the Niger Republic and taken to northern Nigeria. He said, “The United States of America contacted the Nigerian government and they were given the permission to undertake that operation. There is nothing wrong in a friendly nation taking permission to conduct an operation which is for the mutual good of the countries, that is why we allowed it happen”.

There have been questions surrounding the rescue operation with concerns that the United States may have violated Nigeria’s Sovereignty when U.S special forces rescued Philip Walton on the morning of Saturday, 31 October, 2020. Philip was kidnapped on Tuesday, 27 October, 2020 by six men armed with assault rifles who arrived on motorcycles at his home in Niger’s Massalata village. The perpetrators demanded over $1 million from his family members who are missionaries. Otherwise, they threatened to sell the captive to extremists. The U.S president, Donald Trump in a statement issued as he campaigned in Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon said, “Last night, at my direction, the United States military conducted a successful operation to rescue an American hostage in Nigeria, kidnapped just 96 hours earlier. United States special forces executed a daring night time operation to rescue their fellow American with exceptional skill, precision and bravery. The former hostage is currently in good health and has been reunited with his family”.

The minister of defence, speaking on how the Nigerian military is boosting its operations in the North East and other parts of the country, believes Nigeria will explore its relationship with the United States and other countries. He highlighted the operation of the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) as part of the government’s efforts to enhance military operation with technology in the country. He said, ” Nigeria is trying very hard, I will refer you to the effort of Nigeria in DICON kaduna and the research space of the military. All these are efforts towards improving the technological development of our own nation. Besides, we are in partnership with other countries so that they can transfer technology to Nigeria.

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