Boko Haram: US To Seek Extradition Of Detained Members
The United States attorney representing the 25th District (Maryland Region), Ms Aisha Braveboy, yesterday said that the American government would soon be asking its Nigerian counterpart on the possible extradition and serious prosecution of the detained terror suspects who had been arrested on account of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
This is just as Nigeria’s ambassador to Nigeria, Professor Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye, has said that the terrorist group had no reason to justify their deadly acts of killing and destroying innocent citizens of Nigeria.
Speaking during a public debate organized by the Africa-American Investment Partners on the menace of Boko Haram in Washington, DC, Ms Braveboy noted that efforts were underway to ensure that everybody who had been indicted for having anything to do with Boko Haram as well as the terrorist attacks in Nigeria was duly prosecuted by the United States, United Nations and the international community.
Wants politicians linked to terrorism released for prosecution
Lauding the efforts of the Nigerian government to curb terrorists and acts of terrorism in the country, the US official said that a letter would soon be sent to the government to request a proper prosecution of the detained terrorists in Nigeria. She added that those politicians that are being linked with sponsoring the terrorist group should be released to the international community by the federal government for arrest and prosecution.
Ambassador Adefuye, who was the keynote speaker at the event, said that there was no justification for any act of terrorism in Nigeria, faulting the claims from some quarters that Boko Haram members were perpetrating evil in Nigeria as a result of underdevelopment in the three affected states. “Does anybody have a reason to kill because he feels his region has not been developed? It is totally unacceptable to say that terrorism came to existence in Nigeria as a result of underdevelopment in any part of the country,” he noted.
Condemning media reports that the federal government was violating human rights, the Nigerian envoy who has been meeting to inform US lawmakers on the efforts that the Nigerian government is making to fight terrorism in Nigeria continued that the diplomatic way with which Nigeria had been handling the trials of those indicted for terrorism should show that the country is a respecter of human rights. He added that Boko Haram did not just start during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
Adefuye however thanked the United States government including senators and Congressmen for now realizing that all the media reports which earlier said that the Nigerian government was slow in its intervention in the Chibok kidnapping were all fabrications just to discredit President Jonathan’s administration. He continued that the Western media were just blowing the security situation in Nigeria out of proportions.
He said: “How can you say that the entire Nigeria is unsafe because Boko Haram members are striking in just three states out of the 36 states in the federation? I think the international media should also think and report about the positive things happening in Nigeria just like the just-concluded World Economic Forum which was held successfully. All that international investors need to do now is to ignore all the overblown media reports and take a trip to Nigeria; it is when they get there that they will know that the situation is not as bad as it is being reported in the media.”
Also speaking, the coordinator and partner of the Africa-American Investment Partners, Mr Franklin Ekechukwu, charged the international community to urgently do everything to support Nigeria in order for the kidnapped female students to be found and returned back to their families alive.
Mr Ekechukwu added that the efforts being put in place by the federal government should be appreciated.
Chibok Girls: Jonathan okays N1.6bn for safe schools initiative
•As Gordon Brown, Gov Shettima visit Aso Rock
President Goodluck Jonathan has directed finance minister Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to open a trust fund account of N1.6billion for the Safe Schools Initiative, in response to the growing number of attacks on the right to education including the kidnap of over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok.
This is coming just as former British prime minister Gordon Brown, Borno State governor Kashim Shettima and his Yobe counterpart Ibrahim Gaidam met with the president at the presidential villa, Abuja, to perfect and seal the Safe Schools Initiative which was launched by Jonathan at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa last month in Abuja.
Brown, who is currently the UN special envoy for education, had teamed up with a coalition of Nigerian business leaders to formally launch the “Safe Schools Initiative” as part of the opening activities of the WEF.
The UN envoy alongside governors Shettima and Gaidam as well as Okonjo-Iweala and presidential spokesman Reuben Abati briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting with the president.
“And Mr President has kicked off this initiative by opening and instructing that I open a trust fund in which we have already put N1.6billion. The private sector is also putting N1.6 billion; his excellency Gordon Brown is going to be raising some resources and the governors are also putting in commitment,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
The UN envoy told journalists that he also came with a message from Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, giving his support for Nigeria on the Safe Schools Initiative.
He said, “I just came from a meeting with the president. Every child is special, precious and unique. I have come here with the UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon giving me his support to do so — to send our sympathies and our solidarity and our support to the children of Chibok who have been cruelly kidnapped and to give our support to the families of these girls and to the whole community in Borno State.
“And I am here to say that we wish as an international community to do everything we can to back up the efforts of President Goodluck Jonathan and the governors of the states to make sure these girls are returned to their families and at the same time to make sure that every parent feels that they can send their children to school knowing they wil be safe in future.
“And that is why we are launching the Safe Schools Intiative and that is why the president has decided to set up this fund that will allow the international community as well as local donors to contribute to making our schools in this country safer.
“We also want to help the rebuilding of Chibok schools because we want parents of that area to be sure that when thier girls are released they can come home to a school that is rebuilt and safe.
And we want to help in rebuilding the schools in other areas where schools have either been demolished or burnt down or vandalized.”
Borno governor Shettima warned against politicising the process, saying while the situation is such that calls for sobriety and maturity, politics would be played at the appropriate time.
He said, “We have given our commitment to partner with the federal government and the international community to ensure that we promptly address this problem confronting us. It is an issue that basically boils down to education, poverty, empowerment. By the grace of God, we want to give you our commitment: that we are going to pursue this thing vigorously with all the resources, human and material, in our disposal, and, please, it will be completely devoid of politics.
“Times like this call for sobriety, maturity, for unity of purpose. At the appropriate time, we are going to play politics but this is not time for playing politics with the lives of people.”
On his part, Yobe governor Gaidam said, “The initiated is going to be started in our three states because we are the most affected areas in terms of the insurgencies. We promise to give him all the necessary cooperation to ensure that the programme succeeds.
“We are also going to partner both with him and the federal government under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that this programme becomes successful at the end of the day.”
30,000 flee villages to Maiduguri
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has said that over 30,000 villagers have fled their areas to Maiduguri, Borno State capital, for safety.
The north-east zonal coordinator, Alhaji Muhammad Kanar, told the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that frequent attacks of the villages by the Boko Haram have forced the residents to abandon their homes to Maiduguri, the state capital.
According to the coordinator, “villagers seeking safety in Maiduguri were from Alau, Gwoza and other surrounding communities worst hit by the militants”.
NEMA has vowed to create camps in Maiduguri to cater for the affected persons, Kanar said.
Meanwhile, the Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS) Council of Ministers has revealed that security, economic development and regional integration will top the agenda of its 72nd Ordinary Session in Accra, Ghana.
This was contained in a statement signed by the ECOWAS Commission’s acting director of communication, Sunny Ugoh, yesterday in Abuja.
According to the statement, the meeting will hold from June 19 to June 20. ECOWAS would also consider the memorandum on the “ECOWAS declaration on events in northern Nigeria” due to insecurity in that part of the country.
Thousands of people have been killed in northern Nigeria due to the activities of the Boko Haram terrorist group.
Use of force cannot end Boko Haram – CAN
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said that the use of force alone cannot solve the menace of Boko Haram, because its activities were ideologically construed and can only be solved by a superior ideology.
Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, president of CAN, who spoke yesterday on the sidelines of a one-day Christian/Muslim interactive meeting in Abuja, said as necessary as military operation in quenching the raging fire ignited by the insurgents could be, the only potent means of solving the menace is by engaging them with counter-narrative.
According to Oritsejafor, Muslim clerics should begin to engage the insurgent members with a view to re-orientating them against their pervert ideology, adding that military operation is very important but the problem will not be solved completely just by bullets.
“We will have to create an avenue for a superior argument in the area of ideologies. In other words, we must bring up another ideology that is higher and better, that would counter and contradict the ideology that has created this monster,” he said.
Oritsejafor said he disagreed with a section of the people who believed that poverty was at the centre of the issues that bred insurgency in the north, stressing that if government decided to give car to each Nigerian, it would still not address the scourge because the dreaded Islamic group was being driven by wrong ideology.
“It is a fact that Boko Haram is not as a result of poverty, but as a result of an ideology. If you buy a car and build a house for everybody in Nigeria, it does not stop an ideology. The only thing that stops an ideology is another ideology, a better and a superior one.
“What we now have to do is to look for the people who have this type of ideology, that have contact with these people who have the wrong ideology, so that they can take the right ideology, go to them and explain it to them. They may not listen to me, but there are people they will listen to.
“The people who can engage Boko Haram basically are Muslim clerics. I do not want to be hypocritical. There is no Christian ideology that can match that ideology, because they are totally different. But it is purely a Muslim ideology that can counter this ideology,” he stated.
Speaking a similar vein, the Chairman Islamic Resource Centre, Nigeria, Prof. Mohammed Al-Amin also agreed that the issue of Boko Haram was an ideological issue, that if the perpetrators are converted ideologically, then it would have done what weapons and violent actions could not do.
“I perfectly agree that Boko Haram is an ideological problem and the best way to tackle it is through intellectual engagement. Among Muslims scholars, there were some that started this engagement some years back. I think it is very important we encourage this to continue. Secondly, the opinion of this conference is that Boko Haram has proven that their agenda is not Muslim interest to attack Christians in this country.
“It is also not an agenda of the federal government to unleash mayhem on the northerners, but a disease by a section of Nigerians that have unleashed terrible abuses on both Muslims and Christians,” he said.