U.S. Secretary of State Kerry has left for Nigeria with the goals of preventing violence after elections in February and to assist with efforts to combat the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. Kerry will meet with the rival presidential candidates to encourage them to accept results of the February 14th poll and to ask their supporters to refrain from violence. Signs have been seen of a potential repeat of the deadly 2011 post-election riots.
Kerry will also discuss Boko Haram whose threat has become such a regional concern that Nigeria’s neighbors have launched a multinational task force to help the Nigerian military. According to Dr. Ricardo Rene Laremont, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, the most positive thing the U.S. can do in stabilizing the country is to urge unity. The unity of Nigeria is essential not only to Nigeria but to international security.