22 August 2012

Nigeria: Why We Oppose U.S.' Branding of Boko Haram As Terrorists - Adefuye

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Even with pressure on the United States Government to brand Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation, the Nigerian Ambassador to the US, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, has explained why the Nigerian government is opposed to that move.

In an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP at the weekend, Adefuye listed five reasons why the Nigerian Government does not want US to designate Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO).

He said, "To declare Boko Haram as an FTO [Foreign Terrorist Organisation] will mean that Nigeria is not able to deal with Boko Haram and that is not right. After all, we have dealt with a more focused, more dangerous, better organised protest movements like the Niger Delta militants.

"And to designate Boko Haram as a FTO would mean that it will give such psychological boost to Boko Haram among other terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, which can be tempted to embrace them and support them.

"Three, to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation would discourage investors from coming to Nigeria because nobody wants to go to an area where a terrorists resides.

"Four, even from the point of view of the US, they say it constitutes a threat to their interests but it is not. So if you did not declare Niger Delta [militant groups] an FTO, why would you declare Boko Haram an FTO? It doesn't stand logic or reason."

Finally he said that labeling Boko Haram a terrorist organisation would expose Nigerians travelling to the US to "horrendous search at US entry points and we don't want that."

Also, the Nigerian envoy disclosed that the country has received immense support from the US in the last two years of signing the Bi-national Commission (BNC). Nigeria signed a BNC covering four key areas with US in 2010. However, it was expanded to include a fifth area capturing the threat of insurgent groups like Boko Haram.

According to Adefuye, areas of support from the US include fight against corruption, generation of electric power, transparency in governance, agricultural development and security.

"The BNC is so successful that it is seen as a template for America's missions to other country and we were very happy about that. When the Canadians saw that it was so successful, they now signed a similar bi national commission agreement with Nigeria along the pattern of the BNC we have with the US," he disclosed.

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