[This article was earlier published in on May 10th 2014 and I have chosen to republish same considering Senator John Kerry, the US Secretary of State is due to visit Nigeria within the next 24 hours being January 26th 2015]
Below is an excerpt from the transcript of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate Hearing on Benghazi held on January 23, 2013; pay attention to mention of Nigeria within this:
“Well, Senator [Coon], I appreciate greatly your sustained attention to Africa. And I think it’s going to be viewed as quite prophetic because there will be, I believe, a continuing set of challenges. You mentioned some of them, but by no means we, you know, we’ve got Boko Haram in Nigeria posing the threat of instability to one of the most important oil-producing nations in the world, something very important to our country. We’ve got other unrest and challenges coming down the west coast of Africa.
But we also have a success story, at least a — a hoped — for beginning success story in Somalia. And what did the United States do there? You know, when I became Secretary of State, I recommitted American money to the UNISON forces. We worked to train the Ugandans and the Burundis and others. We worked with the Kenyans when they went in. We worked with the Djiboutis.
It took time. There was not — there were no shortcuts. But we had literally the boots of our American soldiers and the boots of American diplomats on the ground. I visited one of the — the training camps in Uganda. And what we have to do is recognize we’re in for a long- term struggle here. And that means we’ve got to pay attention to places that historically we have not chosen to or had to.
So, I would hope that this committee can make that case to the rest of the Congress. We’re now looking at, you know, troops coming from other neighboring African countries. We can’t just send them into Mali. They don’t have training to do that. We’re going to have to work with other partners to train them and equip them, and then to sustain them, just like we did with the troops in Somalia.
So, you know, four years ago, Al Shabaab was one of the biggest threats not only to east Africa, but to the United States. We have a chance to really continue on a — on a positive track there, but it didn’t happen by accident. It took American money, American know — how, American experience. And we have to make the decision we’re going to do the same in North Africa as well.”
Now contrast this to her statement a few days [May 7, 2014] ago:
“The seizure of these young women by this radical, extremist group, Boko Haram is abominable, it’s criminal, it’s an act of terrorism and it really merits the fullest response possible, first and foremost from the government of Nigeria; the government of Nigeria has been in my view somewhat derelict in its responsibility toward protecting boy and girls, men and women in northern Nigeria over the last years.”
“Nigeria has made bad choices, not hard choices; They have squandered their oil wealth, they have allowed corruption to fester and now they are losing control of parts of their territory because they wouldn’t make hard choices.”
“The Nigerian government has failed to confront the threat or to address the underlying challenges; Most of all, the government of Nigeria needs to get serious about protecting all of its citizens… and ensuring the every child has the right and opportunity to go to school.”
“Every asset and expertise should be brought to bear; Everyone needs to see this for what it is, it is a gross human rights abuse but it is also part of a continuing struggle within Nigeria and within North Africa.“
Isn’t it amazing that the same ex-Secretary of State who rallied the US Senate towards acting as regards Boko Haram [having identified the group’s evil potency] now comes back about 15 months later to suggest that it was Nigeria that dropped the ball here?
This would be a good time to x-ray Mrs. Clinton’s role in all of these; I came across this excerpt on CNN [See: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/08/politics/clinton-boko-haram/]:
In its report [in 2011] , the Homeland Security Committee called for Clinton to “conduct an investigation into whether Boko Haram should be designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization” under federal law.
Such a move “may be required to provide our intelligence and law enforcement communities the tools necessary to ensure Boko Haram does not attack U.S. interests and the U.S. homeland,” the report said.
A few months later, amid increasing violence by Boko Haram, the top Republicans on the panel wrote Clinton to urge its immediate terrorist designation.
In a letter to the secretary, Reps. Peter King of New York and Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania cited support by the Department of Justice and military intelligence for such a step.
State Department officials opposed the move, as did 24 academics with expertise in African affairs.
In their letter, King and Meehan said Boko Haram could be growing into an al Qaeda affiliate capable of attacking the United States.
Other al Qaeda affiliates, such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, had started as local or regional groups that became international threats, the legislators noted.
Adding Boko Haram to the terror list would give U.S. intelligence, law enforcement and economic officials a wide range of tools against the group, according to King and Meehan.
Opponents of the terrorist designation argued that Boko Haram posed no threat to the United States, while adding it to the terrorism list could make Washington and Western interests more of a target.
A letter to Clinton by the 24 academics, including former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell of the Council on Foreign Relations, said a terrorist designation would raise Boko Haram’s international profile and possibly link the United States to abuses by Nigerian forces cracking down on the group.
What did Clinton’s State Department do?
In June 2012, the State Department added three Boko Haram members to a terrorist blacklist, including Abubakar Shekau, who took over the group’s leadership after Yusuf’s death.
Evidently, the State department under Madam Clinton goofed in underrating the threat Boko Haram was to become – perhaps a similar error the department before her time committed with Al-Qeada before 9/11; but rather than Mrs. Clinton admitting her own role in this flaw, she would rather protect her presidential ambitions [the GOP is poised to launch a massive salvo against her using this very issue + Benghazi; read: http://goo.gl/80Yhwk%5D by pushing the blame to the leadership of Nigeria.
Well judging from Mrs Clinton’s comments earlier this week, one can only imagine that if she becomes the next US’ President in her cinderalla-like march to the White House in 2016, she would continue from where she left this US policy of Irritation for Nigeria which contributed largely to at the State Department under her enemy-turned-friend-turned-boss Barack Obama; isn’t it amazing that the same US that helped out all the other nations in Africa as she mentioned during her quoted testimony on TERRORISM has largely maintained this blind attitude to Boko Haram for all these years as the sect continued to ravage Nigeria – this have done despite all the support Nigeria has given even the US in fighting against similar strife in different parts of the world over the years at the expense of Billions of Dollars and hundred of lives of our military!
President Obama, his administration and Mrs Clinton [who is possibly the incoming President] needs to change this attitude of Ignore Nigeria by default before they allow such a stance to become such a shame of global magnitude as the #BringBackOurGirls campaign is currently generating – Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton should stop this attitude of we-must-only-listen-to-Nigerians-in-the-Diaspora-and-the-opposition-in-Nigeria while ignoring the duly elected President of Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan who won the 2011 polls by clear 61% margin in an election that the US under Barack and Hillary adjudged to be free and fair!
This policy of only embracing cheap populist voices against the Jonathan administration must change because the US cannot on one hand be screaming at every other opportunity that “Nigeria is the most corrupt nation in the world led by useless leaders” and at the same time be sending its multinationals like GE, Chevron, Ford, Citibank, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc to do business in Nigeria – all of them repatriating back Billions of dollars and jobs to the US economy every other year.
The US cannot ignore the biggest economy in Africa; with the largest population; most expansive land mass; with the most diverse ethnic groups; and most widely-traveled citizens – a lot of whom are daily contributing towards the growth and development of the local US economy and society – it is time for Obama to retrace and redraw his relationship with Nigeria into one of mutual respect and growth rather than only seeking cheap and rather uncomfortable opportunities such as “the missing Chibok girls campaign” to mention the word – NIGERIA for the first time in possibly the last 5 months!
The US should let Nigerians [as South Africans just did with the so-called unpopular ANC] pick their own leaders rather than aligning forces with anti-Goodluck Jonathan voices; and constantly taking positions and issuing statements that seem to usurp the office of the President of Nigeria; while constantly painting Nigeria, a nation, it so often loves to call “a trusted partner” when it suits it, in such a bad light all the time.
It is also apparent that publications and think-tanks from the US like New York Times, The Economist, Council of Foreign Relations [whose member, Ambassador Jon Campbell, predicted the break up of Nigeria in 2015] have learnt this bad habit from the Obama administration by also so often writing positions that seek to mock Nigeria and its leadership – always coming to Nigeria to recruit and have consultants who are soiled in the hatred for Goodluck Jonathan to provide biased positions on Nigeria for them – I would hopefully find sometime to respond to some of those lousy articles in the coming days.
It is my hope that the State department under Senator Kerry would take a radical departure away from Hillary’s time there; and would use the opportunity presented to it by this unfortunate missing girls saga to change US policy towards towards Nigeria to that of “let’s-work-together” rather than “you-are-a-bad-child-that-should-be-ignored” and learn from the comments of PM David Cameron at the House of Commons just a few days ago [May 7, 2014]:
“This is not just a Nigerian issue, it is a global issue; there are extreme Islamists around our world who are against education, against progress, against equality and we must fight them and take them on wherever they are.“
This is the sort of support the world led by the US must provide to Nigeria at this critical time rather than suggesting in varying statements that “Boko Haram is thriving in Nigeria because the leadership is corrupt; because it is not supporting leaders from Northern Nigeria to eradicate poverty, etc” – the question should be asked of the US “if bad leadership and corruption and lack of support for some local leaders in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan by the governments of those nations was what led to Osama Bin-Laden’s plan to kill 3,000+ Americans on 9/11 or if that is what led to the 7/7 bombing in London and many others on in other nations?” [Addition – Is that also what led to Charlie Hebdo murders? Series of beheading of western nationals by ISIL? Beheading of the Japanese Citizen by ISIL?]
To President Obama, I close by saying “it is better late than never” – it is time to retrace your relationship with Nigeria by planning a visit to Nigeria in the coming weeks to show solidarity for Nigeria against terrorism as Nigeria showed the US when your nation was hit by these same criminals.
To some of my fellow Nigerians that would see this article of mine as what they would deem my-blind-support for Goodluck-Jonathan rather a sincere call for the international community to stand with Nigeria against Terrorism as they have doine with Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Kenya, Somalia, Mali, North Africa, France, and now some parts of the EU, I say to them “deliver yourself from this self-inflicted colonialism that makes you place other nations before yours; stop this attitude of negative patriotism towards your nation – which you display by claiming to love the nation while you join others to always mock the same nation that you claim to love!”
–end of article–
My comments today, January 25th 2015 – My guess is Senator John Kerry is coming to Nigeria to discuss the 2015 elections [rather than Boko Haram] because it appears that the US is currently more concerned with “Regime Change” than “Peace” in Nigeria; well, it is my sincere prayer that he proves me wrong – and I have less than 24 hours to have this prayer answered – let us see how it goes.
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