#iPGN: US, Nigeria’s relations under threat over arms purchase

There are strong indications that the relationship between Nigeria and the Western countries, especially the United States, is being adversely affected by the reluctance of the Western powers to assist Nigeria with arms and ammunition.

Our correspondents gathered on Thursday that Nigeria had not made much progress in its efforts to procure arms and ammunition to prosecute the war against the militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

Investigations showed that   the security leadership in the country might have taken a decision to look in the direction of Russia, Ukraine and China for military hardware for the prosecution of the campaign against the insurgents.

A senior security source told one of our correspondents that the military leadership decided to approach the three countries after going through months of frustration from the Western countries in a bid to procure arms and ammunition from them to fight the war against Boko Haram.

It was, however, learnt the Western powers’ reluctance to sell military equipment to Nigeria might not be unconnected with alleged human rights violations.

President Barack Obama’s administration had, in a document titled, “The United States Conventional Arms Transfer Policy,” released on January 14, 2014, explained the US policy on arms sales.

The document states, “All arms transfer decisions will be guided by a set of criteria that maintains the appropriate balance between legitimate arms transfers to support US national security and that of our allies and partners, and the need for restraint against the transfer of arms that would enhance the military capabilities of hostile states, serve to facilitate human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law, or otherwise undermine international security.”

The US, in its 2013 Human Rights Report on Nigeria, had said, the government and its agents committed numerous arbitrary or unlawful killings.

But the National Human Rights Commission has recently absolved the military of alleged human rights violations.

The source, who confided in one of our correspondents, said that Nigeria was considering focusing attention on the countries of the East as a survivalist measure as it did during the era of the late former military ruler, Sani Abacha.

The source explained that the military leadership had become worried that Nigeria’s allies from the West had only shown disturbing indications of unwillingness to sell critical arms to the country.

It was stated that the United States, which is believed to be assisting the country in the issue of the Chibok girls, had refused to sell military hardware it promised the country six months ago.

Investigations revealed that the US had only given eight second-hand vehicles, which were used for their operation in Iraq, to the country.

The source said that the military authorities became worried when the US authorities, who did not oppose the nation’s request for unspecified number of attack helicopters, kept mounting obstacles on the part of the military to acquire them six months after.

Investigation revealed that a ship load of arms and ammunition meant to prosecute the ongoing fight was being delayed in a port Singapore.

Efforts to get the Defence headquarters spokesman, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade’s reactions did not succeed as calls to his mobile telephone did not connect.

But the US embassy spokesperson, Sean J. McIntosh, said his country was committed to helping the Nigerian government combat Boko Haram.

He was asked to explain America’s reluctance in assisting Nigeria with procurement of arms.

McIntosh’ silent on the US’ reluctance in assisting Nigeria with arms had to do with allegations of human right abuse.

He was also silent on whether the relationship between Nigeria and the US was under threat.

He, however, stated, “We are engaging with the Nigerian government at all levels to identify areas of counterterrorism cooperation, such as information-sharing, enhancing security force professionalism and tactics and improving Nigeria’s forensics and investigative capacity.

“We also recognise the critical need for regional cooperation and improved border security for Nigeria and its neighbours to combat the increasing number and scope of attacks by this violent extremist group.”

He also opened up on the US’ assistance in rescuing Chibok girls, who were kidnapped on April 14, 2014 in Borno State.

Following international outcry, the US had in May sent a team of security experts to assist Nigeria in rescuing the girls from Boko Haram.

Source The Punch News Paper

Posted From iProdigy Group Nigeria(Dabibi Ori-ibim’s Blog).

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