Tuesday, November 11, 2014 4:21 pm
*Envoy says country feels abandoned at hour of need
Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States has castigated Washington for refusing to sell “lethal weapons” to fight the country’s Islamic uprising, saying the extremists otherwise would have been defeated long ago.
Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye said the United States is letting down an old ally in its hour of need, and Nigeria’s people and government feel abandoned.
“The U.S. government has up till today refused to grant Nigeria’s request to purchase lethal equipment that would have brought down the terrorists within a short time,” Adefuye told members of the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations Monday night.
“We find it difficult to understand how and why, in spite of the U.S. presence in Nigeria with their sophisticated military technology, Boko Haram should be expanding and becoming more deadly.”
Nigeria’s military on Oct. 17 announced an immediate cease-fire with Boko Haram, but the militants have responded with more and deadlier attacks.
Adefuye confirmed that Washington has refused Nigeria’s requests because of allegations the defense forces have violated the human rights of Boko Haram suspects. It was not possible to get an immediate response from U.S. officials.
He said the allegations are based on rumours spread by political opponents as Nigeria prepares for February presidential elections.
U.S. laws ban sales of lethal weapons to countries whose military are accused of gross human rights abuses.
But Adefuye dismissed the human rights abuse claim as “rumors, hear-says and exaggerated accounts”.
Washington’s allegations of widespread human rights abuses by the Nigerian army “cannot be substantiated by facts,” Adefuye said, adding “half-truths” had been spread by Jonathan’s rivals and human rights groups with an agenda.
“The terrorists threaten our corporate existence and territorial integrity,” the ambassador said, urging members of the Council on Foreign Relations to plead Nigeria’s case with the US administration.
“A friend in need is a friend indeed. The true test of friendship is in the times of adversity.”