Nigerians have expressed doubts about the willingness of the Federal Government to embrace the offer by the U. S. government to help and identify the sponsors of Boko Haram, which has waged an insurgency war on Nigeria in the last 12 years.x
Some security experts, former diplomats, and leaders of some socio-cultural/civil society organisations in the country who spoke to The Guardian said embracing the proposal was the best option for the country at this point, but were sceptical about President Muhammadu Buhari’s disposition to the offer.
Recall that the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, had during a round-table on U.S.-Nigeria military cooperation with journalists in Abuja, last Monday night, declared that her country was very eager to partner with Nigeria on identifying Boko Haram sponsors.
A former Assistant Director of the Department of State Services, Dennis Amachree, asserted that the U.S. had been positively disposed to supporting Nigeria, especially in the fight against terrorism, noting that the question was whether the Federal Government would embrace the current gesture.
He said: “Are we ready to arrest and prosecute these sponsors when exposed? Are we simply going to lock them away as has been done in the past? These are the concerns and the Americans may lose interest if we don’t take it seriously.
“Nigeria will do well to accept the offer as the country is really at a crossroads and will accept any help she can get. The United States agreeing to support Nigeria means that they will come with some of their cutting-edge technology, which will boost the capability of Nigerian security agencies.”
A former Naval Chief, Rear Admiral Godwill Siempre Ombo, simply said: “These are touchy questions. Who truly wants to end issues in his or her life that will not embrace any support to end such issues?”x
To a former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) Prof. Bola Akinterinwa, “if the government of Nigeria is serious about the need to bring Boko Haram to an end, the government should consider it as an opportunity to be taken advantage of.”
He added: “I remember that in 2020, either in July or August, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, accused the international community, particularly the big powers, that they were blocking all Nigerian efforts to deal with the Boko Haram group.
“Lai Mohammed by that time was accusing the United States, the big powers, their allies, holding them responsible for the government of Nigeria’s inability to contain Book Haram insurgency.x
“Now, a year after, the U.S. is offering to assist in knowing who is doing what, who is funding Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. It will be very illogical for the government of Nigeria to have accused the big powers in the year 2020 that they were blocking their efforts, now when they are de-blocking your alleged efforts, it will not make any sense for the government of Nigeria to refuse.
“What I am saying, in essence, is that the first point is that the government of Nigeria wanted assistance, but it was allegedly blocked. Now that the U.S. is giving the opportunity of de-blocking, it is only logical to accept.
“The second point is that the Nigerian people have been asking President Buhari to seek international collaboration to end Boko Haram. If the government accepts, he will be doing so in the spirit of public request that Boko Haram cannot be suppressed without international support. So, if they accept the support, it is consistent with the spirit of the public in Nigeria.x
“Thirdly, the reason we should support the U.S. to reveal is that Nigerians themselves have been accusing the Nigerian government that the government knows all those who are responsible for Boko Haram.
“Theophilus Danjuma had already accused the military of aiding and abetting Boko Haram. Dr. Malaifa Obadiah told us the report of the meeting with Boko Haram commanders.
“Just last week, Commodore Omowunmi on Channel TV said that from 2007 to 2009, nothing has happened to the people they arrested for Boko Haram, that government knows. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said there is a Fulanisation agenda. So, if Nigerians know those who are in charge but they did not say it, we need the intervention of a country like the U.S. to reveal the secret.”x
In an interview with The Guardian, the spokesman of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Emmanuel Yawe, noted that the time has come for the government to swallow its pride and cooperate with the American government to expose those behind the terrorism and banditry that have nearly torn the nation apart.
According to him, the offer by the U.S. government to assist Nigeria in finding solutions to the current insecurity by exposing those behind it would go a long way in bringing an end to the challenges.
Yawe said: “For many years now, we have been battling with these security challenges. Our students have been captured; the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) was invaded and many people are still with kidnappers. And our government has not done anything. If the U.S. is offering to render assistance, we should quickly accept it since our government appears to be incapable of identifying those behind insecurity and cannot combat it.x
“We are in a desperate situation in Nigeria today. We should accept the American offer and allow them to help us out of this critical situation.”
A former Secretary-General of ACF, Elder Anthony Sani, also said that the ability of the American government to confront and defeat terrorism was not in doubt, adding that, “the U.S. has done this in the past by not only exposing those behind terrorism but also fighting them.”
His words: “Terrorism transcends national boundaries. That was why Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda could base in Afghanistan and attack New York Twin Towers and Pentagon on 9/11. That was also why America put up a coalition of 66 and now 102 countries of all faiths to fight ISIS.x
“It is all because terrorism is not a local phenomenon, but a global threat. That accounts for why America put a price tag of $7 million on late Sheik Shekau. And when you consider identification of sponsors of terrorism as part of the mechanism to fight it, then there is nothing wrong in America helping Nigeria to know the sponsors with a view to curbing it.”
The ACF chieftain noted that sharing of intelligence between and among nations could go a long way “in improving the efforts to end the menace of terrorism that is now a global phenomenon.”
He added: “This underscores the need for collective approach as against leaving the fight for individual countries, many of which lack the wherewithal to confront the menace of terrorism alone.
Source: The Guardian