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Terrorism :US too harsh on Nigeria – ACF, Soyinka

By Chioma Gabriel, Deputy Editor Saturday and Ebun Babalola
The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, and the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka have condemned the United State’s action in  blacklisting Nigeria as one of the terrorist countries, saying such action is  irrational and lacks objectivity.

In an interview with Saturday Vanguard, the chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum, General IBM Haruna said the decision of the United States is not a fair moral decision as the misadventure of a young man cannot be used to judge an entire nation. In the same vein, the Laureate who spoke to Saturday Vanguard immediately he arrived the country, said it is a premature decision on the part of the US government to judge a whole 150 million Nigerians because of just an individual who had taken a wrong step.

According to the ACF chairman, “ it is not a fair moral decision but the young man carries a passport of our sovereign nation. The young man in question is an international citizen, under the sovereign passport of a nation.

What is done however, maybe unfair to be used  as a determination of the character of the people of an entire nation. It is not a way nations behave towards citizens when they are crossing international borders.

“ We must also realise that it is a matter of international concern. We need to be good ambassadors of our country when we leave the shores of Nigeria for other countries. And the young man in question has not done  so. Nigerians should be careful with the way they behave outside Nigeria. Being branded a terrorist nation is not good for us and we should watch the things we do”

In the same vein, the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka said  the current  brain washing or radicalization that took place never occurred in Nigeria,.

“Why should a country of 150 million people be in the blacklist of Americans because of one criminal. The fact that everybody including his family condemned the act also mean that nobody is in support of what the boy did.

“I do not know in any advanced country where parents come out publicly and give a warning advise about their child but it was unfortunate that the US government wasn’t careful enough to take necessary action until everything went out of hand.”

While condemning the action of US government as extremely premature and irrational, Soyinka also described as unwise, the part of the National Assembly to give seven days ultimatum to the United State government.

However, he opined that  issues surrounding such a terrorism attack should be well analysed. “We have to ask ourselves questions in all seriousness about the security of the nation and the United States. We did not speak for a thorough analysis and ideology of the whole matter, what lead to what.

“When you have a nation without a government, we cannot entirely blame the US government especially when an incident like this happen. This incident did not happen two months ago, it happened in a period when there is no government.

“This is a situation where the President of the United States would have picked up his phone and call the President of Nigeria as a colleague but he couldn’t because Nigeria is a black hole in a galaxy of the world.

“There is nobody that can speak one to one with the government of the United States of America. The authoritative voice is lacking and that is what is happening when a nation is a having a vacuum”, he added.

Soyinka opined that although , the United States is in a state of war , it has taken a very serious action.
“It has made a curious and clear condemnation of such an act. USA never wiped away their records  unlike Nigerians that wipes out their brains”.

Soyinka further disclosed that, he did not believe in the notion that the sins of the fathers should be visited on the their children and therefore “ it is unwise for the government of America to punish  150 million people in the country just because of one man.

“US government should explore another means of punishing Nigerian government instead of harassing Nigerians..
“When you go through the airport with the Nigerian passport, you would have to go through a thorough screening thereby assaulting one’s dignity. Already, you can no longer check-in on some airlines  especially on internet . It doesn’t go any further whereas it wasn’t like that initially. The situation is very difficult for Nigerians”.

Also speaking on the absence of  President  Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Soyinka said, it is an insult to the intelligence of 150 million Nigerians for certain people in the government to say that the President can make decisions wherever he is.

“It is shameful on the part of the President of Senate, the Attorney General of the Federation and to the smallest Commissioner in the country to say the President can give directives or sign documents from anywhere.

“The President who is going on the next rocket to Mars, what sort of a nation do we find ourselves in? It is an insult to the intelligence of 150 million Nigerians that these kind of people could make such an indicting statement”, he concluded.

Asked whether the country is not going to break up in the light of all these crisis, he said that the country began to break-up under the regime of Olusegun Obasanjo.

“We ought to sit down and analyse step by step all evidences proving that. When we look at the series of action taken by Olusegun Obasanjo, there are evidences that the country may break up.. Nigeria as a nation has been debased. There are lots of questions to ask about this country”.

He therefore urged Nigerians to go on the streets and demand the immediate fulfilment of their constitutional requirements  from the National Assembly.

“The military should not be allowed to solve the problem of the country. Looking at the illegality going on , there is no government, there is no legitimacy in the federal affairs to run the government.  It is only the citizens of this country that can stop the non-ethical acts of this government,” he said.


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