Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Why FG Resists Terrorist Label for Boko Haram - Ambassador

Photo: Gbemiga Olamikan
Bomb Blast: The aftermath of the bomb explosion at the Nigerian Police Headquarters in Abuja on June 16, 2011.

Lagos — Nigeria's Ambassador to the United States, Prof. Ade Adefuye, yesterday, proffered reasons why Nigeria is against plans by Americans to classify Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO).

Ambassador Adefuye who was guest speaker of the Third Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, (NIIA), symposium on the visit of US Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton to Nigeria at the Louis Mbanefo Hall of the institute in Victoria Island, Lagos, said such classification will subject innocent Nigerian travellers to undue embarrassment and humiliation from U.S immigration authorities.

The envoy who gave a background on the recent visit of Mrs. Clinton to Nigeria said some members of Republican Party in the U.S. Congress have been mounting pressure on the Obama administration to classify Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, but Nigeria is opposed to it because it will elevate the status of Boko Haram and embolden them.

The classification could pave way for the U.S. to use its unmanned drones to attack the leadership of the group.

Adefuye said: "We know from the experience of Afghanistan and Pakistan, such unmanned drones could lead to destruction of villages and people who are not directly involved in the activities of Boko Haram."

According to Ambassador Adefuye, "we believe that Nigeria has the capacity to contain the threats of Boko Haram; we have dealt with a more complex threat represented by the Niger Delta militancy which threatened the economic interest of America." He said Boko Haram has not threatened the economic interest of U.S and the proposed plan to classify them as FTO, will elevate the status of the local terrorist group and will equally make it easier for Boko Haram to attract more international support from other terrorist groups in the international system.

Ambassador Adefuye said the experience of Abdulmutallab in 2010, which resulted in U.S. placing Nigeria on the Global Terror Watch list, is a guide to his embassy to strongly resist the move by the US diplomatic and political community.

Former Nigeria's ambassador to the US, Professor George Obiozor in his contribution told the audience that Boko Haram is a big embarrassment to Nigeria in the international arena and its existence remains a major threat to attracting Foreign Direct Investment to Nigeria.

Two bomb couriers killed in Kaduna explosion

Meanwhile, two male youths suspected to be members of the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, yesterday, died after an explosive device they were transporting on a motor bike to an undisclosed target in Kaduna suddenly went off, killing them on the spot.

According to an eyewitness account, the incident happened around 3:30pm along Aliyu Akilu Road, close to NNPC mega station by the junction of an exclusive Hausa/Fulani enclave of Abakwa in Kaduna metropolis.

Sani Musa, 21, a cobler, who spoke to Vanguard after the incident, said the two were heading to a target somewhere not far from where they got killed.

He said: "I was polishing a shoe under that three", pointing to a huge mango tree besides the filling station, "when I heard something explode and we all jumped and ran to safety. Then we returned and saw an excited crowd. A motor bike was burning. And there were the bodies of two people killed by the explosion. They said that the two who came from Abakwa were trying to turn and ride to the military check point that you can see up there. But they hit a pothole and the bomb exploded on them", he said.

At the time of this report, the Police in Kaduna, the State government and the Military were yet to comment on the incident.

Yesterday marked the fifth of such accidental explosions by bomb couriers in Kaduna in one year, the worst being that of last Easter Sunday, when a bomber's car exploded at Sardauna crescent junction after the car was denied entry at the ECWA church, Gwari Road, about 200 metres away. About 55 people, mostly Muslims were killed in the explosion.

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