ABUJA, Nigeria (CNN) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday visited Nigeria, warning it could be a target for al Qaeda.
The country has been racked by violence between Christians and Muslims, with hundreds having died in riots over the past several years.
"Al Qaeda has a presence in Northern Africa," Clinton said. "There is no doubt in our mind that al Qaeda and like organizations that are part of the syndicate of terror would seek a foothold anywhere they could find one, and whether that is the case here or whether this is a homegrown example of fundamentalist extremism - that's up to the Nigerians to determine."
Clinton met President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and other leading politicians in the capital Abuja, the latest stage on an 11-day African tour designed to show U.S. commitment to the continent.
In a town hall meeting she talked about the importance of democracy, making a reference to her own unsuccessful run for president last year.
"I have won some elections and I have lost some elections. And in a democracy there have to be winners and losers," she said, before looking ahead to Nigeria's next elections.
"Part of creating a strong democratic system is that the losers, despite how badly we might feel, accept the outcome, because it is for the good of the country we love," she said.
"And of course in my country the man that I was running against, and spent a lot of time and effort to defeat, asked me to join his government. So there is a way to begin to make this transition that will lead to free and fair elections in 2011,"
Nigeria is "the most important country in sub-Saharan Africa" and one of the most corrupt, according to a senior official on the trip.
It is a major oil and gas producer, one of the largest suppliers to the American market, said Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary at the State Department's Bureau of African Affairs.
Clinton opened her Africa trip in Nairobi, Kenya, then went to South Africa, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She will travel next to Liberia and Cape Verde.
The Obama administration is also using Clinton's tour to promote development and good governance.
She brought an offer of help Tuesday for victims - especially victims of sexual violence - in Africa's longest war, a regional conflict that's dragged on more than a decade.
"We want to banish the problems of sexual violence into the dark past where it belongs," she said during her visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In a meeting with leaders of non-governmental organizations, Clinton said the United States will provide "more than $17 million in new funds to prevent and respond to gender and sexual violence."
On Monday, Clinton had delivered a blunt message to Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito when he hosted a dinner in her honor.
"There must be an end to widespread financial corruption and abuses of human rights and women's rights," she said. "There must be an improvement in governance and the respect for the rule of law."
The United Nations estimates 200,000 women and girls have been raped in Congo since war broke out 12 years ago.
Updated: 4:54 p.m.
This is not a news flash to anyone who has paid attention to this group. I'm not sure I would say that Nigeria is 'Northern Africa' but the links of fundamentalist Islam are long established.
Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Egypt have been dealing with this for decades.
al Qaeda are here in the US of A, also known as the GOP.
I agree with Secretary Clinton on this. As I've stated previously, Al Queda already has a haven in Somalia. The countries in Africa with a broken government are the countries more likely to be havens for Al Queda. There needs to be concerted efforts by all intelligence communities to track where these terrorists are hiding at. Al Queda is an international terror organization and must be rooted out from wherever they hide.
The problem with the Nigeria nation is not that of Al-Qaeda but that of recklessness of its leaders in squandering the nations riches by corrupt and inept politicians .Nigeria as a nation has not seen development since the 1975 coup against Gowon.
Obasanjo and his cronies came and looted the treasury and shared the nations wealth amongst themselves through the privitization of the economy.
There is no water, good roads, power supply, funding for education and poverty stinks to high heavens yet, the nations produces oil but imports same oil.Nigeria is an example of a state in the verge of failure.(cry my beloved country).
The democratic institutions have been bastardize that the nation is at a precipe of one party destructive rule.
This really great news for the Military Industrial Complex !!
Great employment opportunity for the Army and Navy ect.
The next Generations War could be in Africa somewhere!
See headlines for 08/07/1998 (her beloved husband's second term in office.
Ya think Madame Secretary?
So we are scaling back our national defenses and marginalizing our CIA but Nigeria should be on high alert. What a joke.
Whaaat? Why, I thought that there was no problem with the Muslim world and that it was all George Bush's fault? And I thought that once the most enlightened one was elected there would be no more trouble in the world? And that once we apologized to everyone in the world that we would all live happily ever after? What happened??
Good job Hillary, like we already weren't aware of that one! Maybe you should just step aside and let Bill take over so you wont have to channel his efforts. You an your husband are why I no longer belong to the Democratic Party, now known as the FASCIST Party of NO HOPE!
May God bless Hillary Clinton for the service she is giving the world. And, by the way, does anybody remember when Hillary said if we didn't do something about health care when Bill was President we would be in a "terrible crisis"???????? Republicans completely obstructed their efforts back then and just look at the mess we are in right now. GO, HILLARY, GO!!!!!!!!!
Hey, you liberals, we have enough gas/oil within our own boundaries to support us. Why do we keep playing footsie with the "greenies"? Why don't we support the American people FIRST and FOREMOST?
I agree w/ Hillary. Nigeria is ripe for this kind of crap.
She said terror. Did she not get the memo? I thought the only traffickers of terror were here in the US clinging to their guns and religion, well, except the Muslims. She's supposed to be the SoS, is she not aware that this is simply a potential overseas contingency operation?
I don't know why I'm even wasting time typing this, most likely it will be directed straight to the CNN bit bucket. Oh, yeah Republicans suck!
(Just thought I'd try to increase my odds of getting posted)
Africa is endowed with RICH natural resources. Unfortunately the wealth has become a victim of stealth. When Nigerians sabotage the oil pipeline it is mostly because corruption, etc., has prevented the "spoils" from trickling down to the common man under whose feet oil floweth.
Looks like we can only talk of Alqaida and corruption in Africa,not how to improve Africans situations...How sad!
You have to wonder if she told her then sitting president husband the same thing about the cells in this country or were his attentions held in the oval office by his intern?????
Make sure you call he Ms. Sec of State or you will get the evil eye.
Her and Boxer should get along................
Let's invade Nigeria. The liberals hated Bush for Iraq, but Obama is increasing the forces in Afghanistan. Where are all the ANTI war protesters? Obama lied to you left wingers.
Good job Hillary. I saw some of the camps she visited in congo on the govt. website Sad. Its been a long trip hurry home Hill.
Radical Islam is not thought to have gotten a strong following in either Nigeria or West Africa more generally. please hilary back off from nigeria and stop spreading ignorance. one thing l have enjoyed in my country is no interference with US intelligence and it better not start with obama. you don't know nigeria-they are not like other african countries-that al queda thing will not fly-nigerians are fierce/great africans-infact, l am laughing as l'm writing this:::
But seriously..., what does Bill think about it??
I am amazed that US Senior Officer on Clinton trip described Nigeria as one of the most corrupt country. He should withdraw the statement. It is American companies that introduced corruption to Nigeria system. When Haliburton, KBR, Willbros, Exxonmobil, Chevron, Texaco stop bribing Nigerian officials, Nigeria might just be on the path to good governance.
Please, tell those Criminals Leaders in Nigerian that it time for them to stop stealing all the resources in Nigerian, Living lavish life while the masses laugish is sever Poverty while the send the Children to the best schools around the world. Clinton please expose this injustics, criminal and wicked behaviour amongst those thugs called Nigerian Leaders.
I saw how you fought the Presidency in the US, and I know the poverty vs corruption in Nigerian breaks your heart also. Expose them to the world
ENOUGH, my heart crys and by eyes bleed.
Wait Wait Wait just one minute. I thought Obama clearly said we are no longer fighting a war on terror? These guys are really starting to confuse me...
Yeah, but what does your husband think about it?
Ha! Ha! :-)