Irritating comments from America should stop, by Prof - TopicsExpress


Irritating comments from America should stop, by Prof Akinyemi. Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, a former External Affairs Minister, also responds (Read story here): Dear Richard, Thank you for sharing this piece. I have also benefited from following the debate that had ensued. Perhaps I should from the beginning establish my credentials. Apart from being a Nigerian, I also was a member of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue (hereafter called the Boko Haram COMMITTEE). My contribution is going to be largely restricted to laying facts on the table. Firstly, the amnesty agreement with the Niger-Delta militants was concluded under Yar’Adua and not Jonathan. In fact, the only militant group, which held out, intensified its bombing campaign under Jonathan. This clarification is relevant to the issue raised as to whether the Boko Haram will respond favourably to a northern President overture. There is no evidence of that. Apart from the fact that the insurgents are virulently against the northern establishment as evidenced by the attacks on several Emirs, there was an attempted assassination targeted the leading northern presidential candidate, Gen M. Buhari. Continuing references to human rights violations by the Nigerian military will carry more credibility if they come from the Vatican which gave up fighting wars centuries ago, than from the United States whose favourite weapon, the drone, makes no distinction between civilians and combatants. I believe the term “collateral damage” was coined by Colin Powell to justify the often appalling civilian casualties that resulted from United States military activities abroad. The Nigerian military has been fighting with one hand tied behind its back as the northern establishment was until recently opposed to a military solution to the Boko Haram insurgents. Long after the objectives of the Boko Haram had been spelt out by them, there was still plenty of self-denial in appraising the Boko Haram. My understanding of BH objectives is as follows: BH wants a purely Islamic state in the North, complete with a system based on the Sharia and a Quranic educational system to the exclusion of a Western educational and judicial system. In addition, it does not want Christians or Christian institutions in its Islamic state. It also does not accept Moslems who do not embrace the strict Wahabbi Salafist Islamic faith. It will be an error to regard the BH as copy cats of the ISIL. As far back as April 2013, information was available that the BH was planning to set up an alternative caliphate in the North-east part of Nigeria. The military action that followed the 2013 declaration of emergency put that announcement on hold. As far back as April 2013, I had seen tapes of BH cutting the throats of its captives, long before ISIL popularised it. Of course it is possible that such methods were taught in AL-QUEDA training camps. Finally, the socio-economic programme, which the Boko Haram COMMITTEE proposed to the President and which is now being implemented, seems to have fallen under the radar of commentators. The programme has three components: a Victims Support Programme, an infrastructural rehabilitation programme and a Marshall Plan to rehabilitate industries nationwide and a national massive employment programme. Any international involvement should target strenghthing the socio-economic programme. The Nigerian military will eventually degrade and destroy the BH. Any military which has had to fight against a guerrilla movement knows it is a messy and unpleasant task. The insurgents always enjoy the advantage of the initiative. That is the lesson of Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia to name a few examples. What the United States needs to do is to cut Nigeria some slack and stop irritating comments whether by scholars or diplomats. Vanguard
Posted on: Sun, 07 Dec 2014 14:00:01 +0000

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