The bocquet of blood Blinken brought to Nigeria
By Emmanuel Ogebe
On the eve of Secretary Blinken’s visit to Nigeria, I opined that he brought no hope to Nigeria. It was worse. There was more death and destruction whether or not linked to his visit.
In Plateau state, where the oldest American school in Africa is situated and more Americans born than any northern state, Islamist Terrorists struck again – weeks after Christmas massacres that claimed over 230 lives. Whole families were burnt alive in home invasions that the State Department falsely labels “competition for land resources.”
To understand just how bizarre the US narrative is, we must look at the Barkin Ladi massacre of June 2018 in which over 200 Christians were slaughtered – also in Plateau state.
The US found a hero amidst this genocidal atrocity – a Muslim cleric who courageously hid 300 Christians in his mosque and persuaded the terrorists not to kill them.
The imam has received multiple awards ever since for his actions including even a pilgrimage to his village by the past US Ambassador to Nigeria and an invitation to Washington. However this is still not a “religious conflict” even though a heroic mullah saved Christians from Islamists in his mosque!
The million dollar question is – why didn’t the US ask the hero mullah for the identities of the terrorists he persuaded not to kill the Christians?
But there’s more in Bizzairo Blinkenworld. Russia invaded Ukraine. It is about land (not religion as both are Orthodox Christian). US called it genocide, sided with Ukraine and supported their resistance of the invasion. Hamas attacked Israel. It’s about land (and a smidgen of religion). US called it terrorism, sided with Israel and supported their Gaza retaliation and invasion.
Fulani killer herdsmen have killed more Nigerian civilians in terroristic genocide than were killed in Ukraine and Israel combined in atrocities even more horrific than notorious terrorists Boko Haram. For the record, USA’s highest subsaharan casualties were four Green Berets killed by Fulani terrorists in Niger while Americans have survived Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria. Yet, USA says it’s only about land and a multinational militia that slashes and burns thousands of communities chanting “Allah Ak bar” (God is Great in Arabic) is not terrorism or genocide.
The real lesson here is that there is no rhyme or reason to USA’s analysis, narrative or policy on Nigeria. Here’s how.
The Fulani are historically Jihadi nomads who invaded the tribes in modern day Nigeria two centuries ago. They have retained their medieval practices save for upgrading from warhorses to motorbikes and bows and arrows to AK-47 automatic rifles.
Just like Russia feels Ukraine belongs to them from the Soviet era so they invaded in complicity with some pro-Russian Ukrainians, West Africa’s Fulanis think Nigeria belongs to them from their 1804 jihad era and have been invading for years in complicity with Fulanis settled or nestled in indigenous and mostly Christian Nigerian communities. Russia has more of an argument and affinity to Ukraine than these foreign Fulani militia have to Nigeria.
Similarly, as the western world arranged for an Israeli state to be established in Palestine, Colonial UK amalgamated it’s poor northern (mostly Muslim) territory with a prosperous southern (mostly Christian) territory – turning a two-state dichotomy into a one-state travesty – purely for imperial economic reasons.
And just like Gaza has been infiltrated with global jihadist, state and non-state, elements launching attacks on the more developed and democratic neighbor, destabilizing the region, Nigeria’s progressive south and non-Muslim northern communities have been attacked by global jihadi elements who have infiltrated the country – destabilizing the subregion. No country in sub sharan Africa has more jihadi terror infiltration than Nigeria with half a dozen globally known groups active and over a dozen more in stealth mode.
Which brings us to the absurdity where US condemns islamist terrorism against Israel; Israel condemns Islamist terrorism against Nigerian Christians (at Christmas no less) but the US condones islamist terrorism against Nigerian Christians because it’s just “climate change!”
The travesty would be ludicrous if it were not so tragic as another Democratic administration replays the same painful policy playbook. Secretary Clinton in the Obama/Biden first term designated the leaders of Boko Haram as terrorists but refused to designate the group itself as a Foreign Terrorist Organization despite the fact that it attacked American diplomat and FBI Legal Attaché Vernice Guthrie and Jennifer Dent in deadly 2011 suicide bombings – covered up till this day. They only designated Boko Haram in the second term under Secretary Kerry when I led an advocacy campaign to do it via US congressional action.
The Biden administration is again engaging in cognitive dissonance by designating Boko Haram as a religious persecuting entity but rolling back and not even examining Nigeria for tolerating egregious religious persecution under the International Religious Freedom Act – a situation worse under Biden than it was under “Obiden”. In fact, Biden appointed Johnnie Carson, whom Obama fired, after his disastrous first-term Nigeria policy, as Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, the ambassador for America’s new partnership with Africa!
In 2012, I wrote, “terror group Boko Haram has made the government itself and Christians in particular its declared target, but …According to the US, Nigeria’s Muslim north feel uncared for …and must get more federal checks…
The disingenuous US policy … borders on being a “ransom demand” on behalf of a region that has not hidden its disdain for all things western – most especially the US itself – for decades …The US is either negotiating for the terrorists or blaming the victim or both!
Boko Haram attempted two signature AlQaeda-style church bombings on Easter Sunday. Ambassador Johnnie Carson did not so much as use his speech to condemn the attacks. Instead he maintained that the attacks were “not religious”. It was an unspeakable US apologetic for terror that would gall even the most jaded cynic of US foreign policy intentions.
The absurdity of the US position is best illustrated by its own response to the 911 terror attacks. the US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan to capture and contain terrorists. It set up a Department of Homeland security. But instead of helping Nigeria to set up a similar Department of Homeland Security to deal with this lethal emerging threat, the US criticizes Nigeria and says it should create a Ministry for northern affairs – not to care for victims of the violence but for the aggressors!
This is just as ludicrous as if the US government sided with a dissident Osama Bin Laden against the oil-rich Saudi king insisting he give more money to Bin Laden sympathizers to make them less extremist!
In a nutshell the US says the violence is not religious, the terrorists are not terrorists, the victims are guilty of making the aggressors poor and the aggressors should be rewarded with more resources from more peaceful regions.” https://justiceforjos.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/nigerias-persecuted-christians-deserve-better-than-current-us-foreign-policy/
Why? All because the US didn’t want to aid Nigeria in fighting islamist terrorists for the optics. Rather, the US tacitly supported Gen. Mohammed Buhari, an Islamist against Dr Jonathan Goodluck a Christian in 2015’s presidential elections.
Within weeks of coming to power, Gen. Buhari was feted in Washington – the fastest US visit of any Nigerian leader ever.
At USIP, right beside Carson, Gen. Buhari made a startling indictment of his hosts saying that the US government had “aided and abetted” Boko Haram by refusing arms sales to his defeated predecessor Dr Jonathan Goodluck – a sentiment repeated by the ex-president in his autobiography. Essentially, a brutal autocrat subsequently blamed for enabling his barbaric Fulani kins’ atrocities, agreed with his mild-mannered opponent, blamed for weakness, and me – a critical human rights lawyer whom they both fought – about America’s failed Nigeria policy under Obama which is better than Biden’s now!
There’s no intel at the moment if yesterday’s gruesome attacks in Plateau State, just a couple hundred miles from Abuja, were orchestrated for Blinken’s visit there, but he’s taken State Department’s “holocaust-denial” to a new low and blood is on his hands.
Like the blood of Beatrice Ringmechit Dauda, a 30year-old college graduate who was burned along with her entire family in their home yesterday and three year old Nanpar Purity, whose 16 family members were killed and was picked up, traumatized and soaked in the blood of her parents at Christmas. This special report is dedicated to them.
Emmanuel Ogebe, Esq, is a prominent international human rights lawyer based in Washington D. C. who has played a role shaping US Congressional and foreign policy on Nigeria. Mr. Ogebe has been a guest speaker at university campuses across the US and radio and TV programs around the world, including CNN, Fox, Al Jazeera, BBC, the Geneva Summit, United Nations, World Bank, the Canadian Parliament etc. His decades of advocacy led to the US designations of Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization (2013), Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern (2020) and International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s determination of crimes against humanity in Nigeria (2020) to mention a few achievements. He was consulted by Presidents Clinton (2000) and Bush’s Administrations (2003) on their visits to Nigeria. He currently serves as Special Counsel for the “Justice for Jos” Project, advocating for and assisting survivors/victims of terror. Mr Ogebe is a recipient of several awards including President Obama (2009), the Darfur Women Action Group (2016), Diaspora groups in the US as well as US States and local authorities citations and recognitions in Florida, Arkansas and New Jersey amongst others.