Nigeria Ambassador blasts US for thwarting Nigeria’s effort to fight Boko Haram
The Federal Government has accused the United States of frustrating its efforts in the war against the Boko Haram sect in Nigeria.
The Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States, Prof. Ade Adefuye, blasted the US in a 19-paragraph speech on the Nigeria embassy website on Tuesday.
Adefuye alleged that the US government refused to grant Nigeria’s request to purchase lethal equipment “that would have brought down the terrorists within a short time.”
He said, “Our people are not very happy with the content of America’s support in the struggle against the Boko Harm sect. The terrorists threaten our corporate existence and territorial integrity. There is no use giving us the type of support that enables us to deliver light jabs to the terrorists when what we need to give them is the killer punch. A friend in need is a friend indeed. The true test of friendship is in the times of adversity.”
According to the remarks on the Nigeria embassy website, Adefuye delivered the speech at a meeting with the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, on Monday at the Embassy of Nigeria, Washington D.C.
The Nigeria envoy faulted the US government for not providing the necessary support, saying the US allegations of human rights violation in Nigeria cannot be substantiated by facts.
According to him, these allegations were the basis of America’s refusal to sell to Nigeria the necessary lethal equipment to use in the fight against Boko Haram.
He said, “We find it difficult to understand how and why in spite of the US presence in Nigeria with their sophisticated military technology the Boko Haram sect should be expanding and becoming more deadly. At first, we had problems with the manner in which intelligence was being shared. The allegations that Nigeria’s defence forces have been violating human rights of Boko Haram suspects when captured or arrested are not true.
“I am sad to inform you that the Nigerian leadership: military and political, and even the general populace, are not satisfied with the scope, nature and content of the United States’ support for us in our struggle against terrorists.
“The US Government claims that the problem has been addressed, but it is still there. This is based largely on reports submitted by human rights groups and sections of the Nigerian media that have sympathy for the opposition parties and are prepared to use whatever means possible to embarrass the government of President Goodluck Jonathan. The Americans claim that Leahy law forbids the sale of lethal equipment to governments that violate human rights.”
Adefuye stressed that the allegations of human right violation, the US excuse for not granting Nigeria’s request for lethal equipment, were based on rumours, hear-says and exaggerated accounts of clashes between the Nigerian forces and Boko Haram fighters.
According to the Nigeria envoy, video reports of human rights violations involving attacks on women and children purported to have been carried out by Nigerian soldiers in Boko Haram affected areas, were the handiwork of the terrorists.
He said, “We pointed out to our American friends that those activities were carried out by Boko Haram members wearing stolen Nigerian Army uniforms. Disguise and subterfuge are standard practices of insurgent groups. The Chibok abduction of our school girls by Boko Haram succeeded because the girls thought that they were being carried to safety by soldiers of the Nigerian army.
“There was a case of an incident in Baga in 2013 when human rights groups and the opposition press said that, based on pictures taken from the satellite; over one thousand six hundred houses were destroyed in a village that has less than 600 houses.
Justifying the Federal Government, the Nigeria envoy said although the FG declared a state of emergency Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, the democratic structures were left in place.
“The parliament, judiciary, and the civilian executives continue to function as in normal times. Nigeria did not establish an extra judicial body to try Boko Haram suspects. All those who were arrested on suspicion of collusion with Boko Haram are being tried in the civilian courts; some of them are currently out on bail,” he added.
Adefuye called on the Council on Foreign Affairs to put pressure on the US State Department and the Department of Defence to re-examine the basis of their refusal to sell the equipment to Nigeria.
He observed that the Boko Haram war has been politicized as the 2015 general elections approach.
He said, “We have implored our colleagues in the embassies of Western nations based in Nigeria to check and re-check the facts, and not use half-truths and rumours as the basis of their reports and recommendations to their capitals. A famous philosopher said that ‘facts are sacred; opinion is free.’ I hereby assert as a fact opinions on human rights violations by Nigerian defence forces are biased, were not subjected to the necessary verification.
“A stable and secure Nigeria is an invaluable asset to America. It was the democratically elected, stable and secure Nigeria, under President Goodluck Jonathan, that ensured the triumph of democracy in Ivory Coast, Guinea Conakry, Mali, and has prevented the collapse of Guinea Bissau. Even in spite of our present challenges, President Jonathan is taking the lead in ensuring a quick return to democracy in Burkina Faso. America’s strategic global objective aims for a stable and secure Africa as an integral part of a peaceful and stable world. A peaceful, stable and secure Nigeria, free from the ravages of Boko Haram, is a necessary pre-requisite.”