by Bayo Akinloye
Boko Haram sect
While the Federal Government has been criticised by American officials over its handling of the Boko Haram insurgency, it has emerged that the US is more interested in Nigeria’s oil rather than helping the country to overcome the Boko Haram insurgents.
This was revealed during the week by the Special Counsel for Justice for Jos Project Jubilee Campaign, Emmanuel Ogebe, while testifying before the United States of America’s House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on “the ongoing struggle against Boko Haram”.
“When America would not put boots on the ground in the one African nation co-founded by Americans, Nigeria did so at a cost of billions of dollars and Nigeria’s military engagement in Liberia is the longest-running commitment in the nation’s history,” the human rights lawyer stated.
He told the lawmakers Nigeria deserved more help from the US.
“The point here is not that there should be American boots on the ground. It is simply that Nigerian boots have been on the ground for America numerous times over the years; so choosing to help Nigeria, in whatever shape, size or form, should not be such a struggle. A strategic ally deserves better,” Ogebe told the US foreign affairs sub-committee.
The human rights lawyer told the hearing that Nigeria had been a loyal and strategic ally to America, especially in the role it played in ensuring peace and stability in Liberia.
“If the argument could be made that American action was predicated on Kenya’s East African regional security role in Somalia and Sudan, why would American action be so tentative, given Nigeria’s global security role in Sierra Leone, Sudan, Somalia, Congo, Bosnia, Rwanda, Haiti and Liberia — America’s sole African love child?” he asked.
He also criticised America’s troop deployment in Chad saying that Boko Haram insurgents are more active in Nigeria and Cameroon than in Chad.
“The US troop deployment in Chad is somewhat puzzling as it does not appear to be part of a definite strategy. Boko Haram is clearly active in Cameroon, but not very active in Chad. Northern Nigeria is vast enough without throwing Chad into the mix.”
According to him, such a deployment is a sign of disinterest of the carnage going on in Nigeria.
Ogebe said, “The deployment smacks of a political half-measure that is more aesthetic than effective. It soothes the populist push for action while appeasing some Nigerian Muslim clerics, who have warned about the effects of American troops in Nigeria. Chad is more Muslim than Nigeria; so this speaks volumes as to their sensitivities compared to northern Nigeria’s.”
He went further to accuse the US government of being interested only in Nigeria’s oil.
“The US appears to care more about security in the South-South of Nigeria where oil is produced. Clearly, the crisis in the north has not impacted the US access to oil from the Niger Delta.
“The US is a large beneficiary of oil theft from the South; its access to Nigerian crude seems assured regardless of what happens. Therefore, the northern conflict is much less a priority of the US.”
The human rights lawyer also informed the sub-committee on the extent the families of abducted schoolgirls were willing to go to rescue the girls, claiming that the American government dashed their hopes.