By Thomas Wakilim
IT is curious to observe that Nigerians who have been so agitated and outspoken about the various disturbing dimensions of the raging insecurity plaguing the entire country in recent months continue to limit their analysis to internal factors otherwise described as ethno-religious fault lines. While there can be no denying the fact of the highly inflammatory sentiments and irreconcilable contentions associated with these “home troubles”, it is beyond belief that the foreign factors so brazenly fuelling our major security challenges, rarely get a mention, even as debate turns to desperation over the survival of the nation.
Even more curious, perhaps to the point of sinister cynicism, is the callous arrogance with which former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. John Campbell, chose to jolt Nigerians into sudden reawakening of the impenitent presence of the formidable foreign factor in the seemingly unwinnable war against our most deadly threat to national security, the Boko Haram insurgency.
The perilous prominence of Boko Haram and Kanu’s IPOB/ESN in the pincer-like clasp across Nigeria which continues to impose a worsening state of insecurity with treacherous temerity has superseded all vital signs in every consideration of the prospects of our dear nation. Almost like a curse against which no talisman exists, the powers of our external enemies assume overwhelming potency over our defence and security forces and the justification for seeking the assistance of our foreign friends and partners has become irresistible.
But alas! This is precisely the time Ambassador Campbell served us notice that the US is not a friend in Nigeria’s time of need: “Under US law, we are prohibited from providing any technical expertise for security forces accused of human rights abuses. Human rights abuses are a huge barrier to a more cordial relationship between the US and the Nigerian security forces. And we know that addressing this barrier is a complex issue,” he blurted without the slightest empathy. In other words, the US is a siddon look “friend” of Nigeria that would witness the collapse of the country without blinking, out of greater interest in the observance of “human rights abuses” by the government, regardless of the fact that such collapse would occasion unprecedented death and destruction!
With that rude reminder, we need no further prompting to recognise the no less cavalier countenance of the United Kingdom, UK, as the haughty host and protector of the other public enemy number one colluding to unleash a reign of terror where Boko Haram could not reach, Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB/ESN. John Campbell it was who personified the death-wish-diplomatic terrorism antic adopted by the US when in 2010 he first predicted collapse of Nigeria by 2015 and has since then been parading himself as an “expert” on Nigeria’s domestic affairs through an obsessive propagation of doomsday scenarios originating from his psychopathic mindset and White supremacist ego.
His latest affirmation of US hostility to the continued existence of Nigeria is actually in tandem with previous manifestations of strategic betrayal of our nation’s sovereignty and interests, particularly since the outbreak of the Boko Haram insurgency. So it was when US denied Nigerian Army critical operational intelligence in 2014/15 while the Boko Haram fighters had a field day, occupying several areas in the North East and eventually abducting the Chibok girls.
Under the false pretence of trying to help liberate the Chibok girls, the US instead set up bases in Niger (drone hub) and Chad, thereby effectively giving them protection while securing a discreet vantage location for “monitoring” Boko Haram activities; insisting on the cancellation of the military assistance contract with Executive Outcomes under which Nigerian Army successfully dislodged Boko Haram from occupied territories in 2015.
But believe it or not, the same US government that will not help Nigerian Army with needed military logistics has been deploying several agencies and personnel into the nooks and crannies of insurgency-infested North-east supposedly to strengthen the resilience of communities vulnerable to violent extremist infiltration and conflict. Just check page 14 of April 17 Daily Trust for a series of advertisements placed by USAID funded agency to uncover the details of US duplicity in its dealings with Nigeria in project objectives that are drenched in crocodile tears.
The recent resurgence of IPOB/ESN with deadlier destabilisation agenda has strategically dovetailed with the obnoxious objectives of blowing up the Nigeria Project this time by propping up Nnamdi Kanu’s Biafran ambitions. Here again we are confronted by a convergence of hostility against Nigeria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the tacit support enjoyed by British-Nigerian Nnamdi Kanu from the acquiescence of the UK authorities who continue to provide a safe haven for him.
This treacherous alliance should never have become a major UK-Nigeria bilateral relation risk factor if there was any genuine goodwill and sincerity of commitment to the much-touted historical fraternity of Commonwealth. Whereas Nnamdi Kalu’s notorious debut in 2017 as “the man fighting for independence of the West African nation of Biafra… from a flat in Peckham” should have been met with corresponding counter-measures as meted out to National Action, NS131, and Scottish Dawn, proscribed as political extremist groups in the UK, Nnamdi Kanu retained his dubious immunity even after jumping bail and absconding from an Abuja High Court.
So enamoured were the British authorities of Nnamdi Kanu that the only time they commented on him was after he disappeared from his family home in Umuahia, following a clash between his IPOB gangs and security forces. The U.K. High Commission in Nigeria confirmed having asked the government about the whereabouts of Kanu, adding: “We are seeking urgent clarification from the Nigerian authorities about the status and whereabouts of Mr. Kanu, a British-Nigerian man.” It confirmed that the UK did not see IPOB as a proscribed entity despite the Nigerian government having secured a court order to that effect. The United States had also refused to label IPOB a terrorist organisation despite the court order.
The Advocates of Social Justice For All, ASJA, have demanded for the extradition of Kanu to face charges in the law court, expressing their disappointment that despite the ‘overwhelming evidence’ that Kanu is currently hiding in UK the Embassy feigned ignorance of his whereabouts. The Executive Director of ASJA, Patriot Venatius Asongo remarked: “We are not allowed to promptly address a growing terror group among us when extremist groups are getting the sledgehammer treatment in London.
We find this not only irresponsible but also an attempt to precipitate a crisis in Nigeria and catapault IPOB into something as ferocious as ISIS. In our view, this calls for concern because it implies that the UK is desirous of plunging Nigeria into a crisis so that it can again return as a colonial master.”
At this point it must be obvious to discerning minds that Nigerians who get sucked into the primordial political haggling over ethnicity and religion to the extent of expressing extremist sentiments of breaking up are merely playing into the hands of our two major foreign enemies as illustrated in this submission. Both the US and UK are neck deep in covert conspiracies solely aimed at arresting Nigeria’s development prospects which are convincingly bright and potentially progressive and, therefore, in conflict with their neo-colonialist agenda.
Until and unless we wake up to the reality of hostile foreign interests fuelling our conflicts with imposed insurgencies while pretending to be “development partners,” no amount of internal conflict resolution efforts will withstand the friendly fire from siddon look UK and US saboteurs.