Sunday, July 31, 2005
Nigeria deserves to have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Because of her pivotal role in the leadership of Africa in the UN and in her commitment to the regional security and stable economy of Sub -Saharan Africa in peace keeping operations, technical manpower development, energy and food security in West Africa. The fact is, Nigeria is a regional power in the geo-political map of the world. In fact, Nigeria will be of immense benefit to the UN Security Council in the strategic imperatives for the implementation of the UN resolutions for global peace. Therefore, Nigeria does not need to lobby for this position. Because, it is even long over due for Nigeria to have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. It is not a contest. It is our right.
We believe that Nigeria and Egypt deserve the two new permanent seats earmarked for Africa on the United Nations Security Council.
Nigeria wooing Caribbean support
for UN Security Council seat
AP Sunday, July 31, 2005
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) - Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo appealed Saturday for Caribbean support for his country's bid to win a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.Obasanjo urged Trinidad to lobby other members of the 15-nation Caribbean Community to support Nigeria.
"We also hope that you will prevail on other members of the Caricom to see the advantage of having a country like Nigeria on the Security Council," Obasanjo said, during a speech in Trinidad's Parliament.
The Nigerian premier heads to Jamaica Monday to make a similar pitch. He last visited Kingston in 2002, just ahead of the general election that returned the PJ Patterson-led administration to office.The Security Council currently has 15 members, 10 elected for two-year terms and five permanent members.
Brazil, Germany, India and Japan have proposed a 25-member council, adding six permanent seats without a veto and four nonpermanent seats.
The so-called Group of Four is hoping to win four of the permanent seats with the other two earmarked for Africa.South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt are the leading African contenders.Caricom announced its support for the plan at a summit last month.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War
by Leuren Moret
World Affairs – The Journal of International Issues, July 2004
www.globalresearch.ca 8 July 2004
The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/MOR407A.html
"Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself."
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
The use of depleted uranium weaponry by the United States, defying all international treaties, will slowly annihilate all species on earth including the human species, and yet this country continues to do so with full knowledge of its destructive potential.
Since 1991, the United States has staged four wars using depleted uranium weaponry, illegal under all international treaties, conventions and agreements, as well as under the US military law. The continued use of this illegal radioactive weaponry, which has already contaminated vast regions with low level radiation and will contaminate other parts of the world over time, is indeed a world affair and an international issue. The deeper purpose is revealed by comparing regions now contaminated with depleted uranium — from Egypt, the Middle East, Central Asia and the northern half of India — to the US geostrategic imperatives described in Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1997 book The Grand Chessboard.
(see the above diagram.)
SOUTH REGION: “This huge region, torn by volatile hatreds and surrounded by competing powerful neighbors, is likely to be a major battlefield, both for wars among nation-states and, more likely, for protracted ethnic and religious violence. Whether India acts as a restraint or whether it takes advantage of some opportunity to impose its will on Pakistan will greatly affect the regional scope of the likely conflicts. The internal strains within Turkey and Iran are likely not only to get worse but to greatly reduce the stabilizing role these states are capable of playing within this volcanic region. Such developments will in turn make it more difficult to assimilate the new Central Asian states into the international community, while also adversely affecting the American-dominated security of the Persian Gulf region. In any case, both America and the international community may be faced here with a challenge that will dwarf the recent crisis in the former Yugoslavia.” Brzezinski.
The fact is that the United States and its military partners have staged four nuclear wars, "slipping nukes under the wire" by using dirty bombs and dirty weapons in countries the US needs to control. Depleted uranium aerosols will permanently contaminate vast regions and slowly destroy the genetic future of populations living in those regions, where there are resources which the US must control, in order to establish and maintain American primacy.
Described as the Trojan Horse of nuclear war, depleted uranium is the weapon that keeps killing. The half-life of Uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years, the age of the earth. And, as Uranium-238 decays into daughter radioactive products, in four steps before turning into lead, it continues to release more radiation at each step. There is no way to turn it off, and there is no way to clean it up. It meets the US Government’s own definition of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
After forming microscopic and submicroscopic insoluble Uranium oxide particles on the battlefield, they remain suspended in air and travel around the earth as a radioactive component of atmospheric dust, contaminating the environment, indiscriminately killing, maiming and causing disease in all living things where rain, snow and moisture remove it from the atmosphere. Global radioactive contamination from atmospheric testing was the equivalent of 40,000 Hiroshima bombs, and still contaminates the atmosphere and lower orbital space today. The amount of low level radioactive pollution from depleted uranium released since 1991, is many times more (deposited internally in the body), than was released from atmospheric testing fallout.
A 2003 independent report for the European Parliament by the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR), reports that based on Chernobyl studies, low level radiation risk is 100 to 1000 times greater than the International Committee for Radiation Protection models estimate which are based on the flawed Atomic and Hydrogen Bomb Studies conducted by the US Government. Referring to the extreme killing effects of radiation on biological systems, Dr. Rosalie Bertell, one of the 46 international radiation expert authors of the ECRR report, describes it as:
"The concept of species annihilation means a relatively swift, deliberately induced end to history, culture, science, biological reproduction and memory. It is the ultimate human rejection of the gift of life, an act which requires a new word to describe it: omnicide."
1943 MANHATTAN PROJECT
BLUEPRINT FOR DEPLETED URANIUM
In a declassified memo to General Leslie R. Groves, dated October 30, 1943, three of the top physicists in the Manhattan Project, Dr James B Conant, A H Compton, and H C Urey, made their recommendation, as members of the Subcommittee of the S-1 Executive Committee, on the ‘Use of Radioactive Materials as a Military Weapon’:
"As a gas warfare instrument the material would be ground into particles of microscopic size to form dust and smoke and distributed by a ground-fired projectile, land vehicles, or aerial bombs. In this form it would be inhaled by personnel. The amount necessary to cause death to a person inhaling the material is extremely small … There are no known methods of treatment for such a casualty … it will permeate a standard gas mask filter in quantities large enough to be extremely damaging."
As a Terrain Contaminant:
"To be used in this manner, the radioactive materials would be spread on the ground either from the air or from the ground if in enemy controlled territory. In order to deny terrain to either side except at the expense of exposing personnel to harmful radiations … Areas so contaminated by radioactive material would be dangerous until the slow natural decay of the material took place … for average terrain no decontaminating methods are known. No effective protective clothing for personnel seems possible of development. … Reservoirs or wells would be contaminated or food poisoned with an effect similar to that resulting from inhalation of dust or smoke."
"… Particles smaller than 1µ [micron] are more likely to be deposited in the alveoli where they will either remain indefinitely or be absorbed into the lymphatics or blood. … could get into the gastro-intestinal tract from polluted water, or food, or air. … may be absorbed from the lungs or G-I tract into the blood and so distributed throughout the body."
Both the fission products and depleted uranium waste from the Atomic Bomb Project were to be utilised under this plan. The pyrophoric nature of depleted uranium, which causes it to begin to burn at very low temperatures from friction in the gun barrel, made it an ideal radioactive gas weapon then and now. Also it was more available because the amount of depleted uranium produced was much greater than the amount of fission products produced in 1943.
Britain had thoughts of using poisoned gas on Iraq long before 1991:
"I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes. The moral effect should be good... and it would spread a lively terror..." (Winston Churchill commenting on the British use of poison gas against the Iraqis after the First World War).
GUIDED WEAPONS SYSTEMS
Depleted uranium weapons were first given by the US to Israel for use under US supervision in the 1973 Sinai war against the Arabs. Since then the US has tested, manufactured, and sold depleted uranium weapons systems to 29 countries. An international taboo prevented their use until 1991, when the US broke the taboo and used them for the first time, on the battlefields of Iraq and Kuwait.
The US military admitted using depleted uranium projectiles in tanks and planes, but warheads in missiles and bombs are classified or referred to as a ‘dense’ or ‘mystery metal’. Dai Williams, a researcher at the 2003 World Depleted Uranium Weapons Conference, reported finding 11 US patents for guided weapons systems with the term ‘depleted uranium’ or ‘dense metal’, which from the density can only be depleted uranium or tungsten, in order to fit the dimensions of the warhead.
Figure (see the above diagram.) - Hard target guided weapons in 2002: smart bombs & cruise missiles with "dense metal" warheads (updated September 2002)
Warhead weights include explosives (~20%) and casing. Dense metal ballast or liners (suspected to be DU) estimated to be 50-75% of warhead weight - necessary to double the density of previous versions. AUP = Advanced penetrators. S/CH = Shaped Charge. BR = BROACH Multiple Warhead System (S/CH+AUP). P = older 'heavy metal' penetrators. © Dai Williams 2002
source:Depleted Uranium weapons in 2001-2002 : Occupational, public and environmental health issues - Mystery Metal Nightmare in Afghanistan? Collected studies and public domain sources compiled by Dai Williams, first edition 31 January 2002
Extensive carpet bombing, grid bombing, and the frequent use of missiles and depleted uranium bullets on buildings in densely populated areas has occurred in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan. The discovery that bomb craters in Yugoslavia in 1999 were radioactive, and that an unexploded missile in 1999 contained a depleted uranium warhead, implies that the total amount of depleted uranium used since 1991 has been greatly underestimated. Of even greater concern, is that 100 per cent of the depleted uranium in bombs and missiles is aerosolized upon impact and immediately released into the atmosphere. This amount can be as much as 1.5 tons in the large bombs. In bullets and cannon shells, the amount aerosolized is 40-70 per cent, leaving pieces and unexploded shells in the environment, to provide new sources of radioactive dust and contamination of the groundwater from dissolved depleted uranium metal long after the battles are over, as reported in a 2003 report by the UN Environmental Program on Yugoslavia. Considering that the US has admitted using 34 tons of depleted uranium from bullets and cannon shells in Yugoslavia, and the fact that 35,000 NATO bombing missions occurred there in 1999, potentially the amount of depleted uranium contaminating Yugoslavia and transboundary drift into surrounding countries is staggering.
Because of mysterious illnesses and post-war birth defects reported among Gulf War veterans and civilians in southern Iraq, and radiation related illnesses in UN Peacekeepers serving in Yugoslavia, growing concerns about radiation effects and environmental damage has stirred up international outrage about the use of radioactive weapons by the US after 1991. At the 2003 meeting of parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, discussing the U.S. desire to maintain its nuclear weapons stockpile, the Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi AKIBA stated,
"It is incumbent upon the rest of the world ... to stand up now and tell all of our military leaders that we refuse to be threatened or protected by nuclear weapons. We refuse to live in a world of continually recycled fear and hatred".
Four reasons why using depleted uranium weapons violates the UN Convention on Human Rights:
LEGALITY TEST FOR WEAPONS
UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW
TEMPORAL TEST – Weapons must not continue to act after the battle is over.
ENVIRONMENTAL TEST – Weapons must not be unduly harmful to the environment.
TERRITORIAL TEST – Weapons must not act off of the battlefield.
HUMANENESS TEST – Weapons must not kill or wound inhumanly.
International Human Rights and humanitarian lawyer, Karen Parker, determined that depleted uranium weaponry fails the four tests for legal weapons under international law, and that it is also illegal under the definition of a ‘poison’ weapon. Through Karen Parker’s continued efforts, a sub-commission of the UN Human Rights Commission determined in 1996 that depleted uranium is a weapon of mass destruction that should not be used:
RESOLUTION 1996/16 ON STOPPING THE USE
OF DEPLETED URANIUM - DU
The military use of DU violates current international humanitarian law, including the principle that there is no unlimited right to choose the means and methods of warfare (Art. 22 Hague Convention VI (HCIV); Art. 35 of the Additional Protocol to the Geneva (GP1); the ban on causing unnecessary suffering and superfluous injury (Art. 23 §le HCIV; Art. 35 §2 GP1), indiscriminate warfare (Art. 51 §4c and 5b GP1) as well as the use of poison or poisoned weapons.
The deployment and use of DU violate the principles of international environmental and human rights protection. They contradict the right to life established by the Resolution 1996/16 of the UN Subcommittee on Human Rights.
FOUR NUCLEAR WARS
"Military Men Are Just Dumb, Stupid, Animals To Be Used As Pawns In Foreign Policy" — Henry Kissinger
THIS REPORT IS 28 PAGES LONG.
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© Copyright belongs to the author, 2004. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
When he made them homeless and some of these children have died in the mayhem of the demolition of their homes.
For how long shall we continue to watch the tyranny of this old African despot?
I say the time to tell Papa Robert Mugabe to go is long overdue.
Sokwanele! Enough is enough!
The ruthlessness and wickedness of Papa Robert Mugabe the old head of state of Zimbabwe has made him the most unpopular African leader in the Western media. He became infamous for kicking out many white farmers from their farmlands in Zimbabwe and now he has made hundreds of thousands of poor miserable masses of Zimbabwe homeless when he sent his armed storm troopers and bulldozers to demolish thousands of their homes. And thousands of them don't even have any shelter in the storm.
We have been having long discussions on the critical situation in Zimbabwe and here is one of the best responses from Czamani, one of the frontline defenders of Papa Robert Mugabe who reminds me of that mean Papa Doc of Haiti.
Well, we agree
on one thing
Well we definitely agree that western wisdom has failed us... which what I think that ultimately this whole thing comes down to. Almost everything that is wrong with Africa today has its roots in western wisdom... whether it be a lack of community responsibility that accompanies the west's extreme individualism, the belief in private property or the use of paper money in cash economies which can be manipulated in such ways so as to make a bar of gold, or a goat worth half today what it was worth yesterday. The economies and markets of precolonial African society made much more sense, based on barter, or even based on a medium of exchange (that was constant) it made more sense because an apple today is an apple tomorrow. Nowadays, as African exchange is based on cash economies that are controlled by exchange rates which are determined by Europeans, a small group of people can arbitrarily decide the exchange rate between the rand and the dollar which can overnight make the fruits of a person's labor able to purchase only half the food it was able to purchase the day before. Such is Zimbabwe’s problem today... Indo-Europeans angry about the fact that their self-appointed right to "privately own" stolen land was revoked, therefore they enact various economic measures which now means that my US dollar now has 10,000 times the power of a Zimbabwean citizens dollar. The Gono takes it a step further and devalues the Zimbabwe dollar further. The bottom line is that there are no monoliths in our world today... anything absolute; everything must be analyzed within context. Within the historical context of everything that we know the west does to destabilize Africa, I understand that in order for Africans to make any progress that we need African leaders that are strong willed and prepared to do what is necessary to ensure that we control our own resources in a stable environment. What does this all mean? This means that in the utopian world of theory where a leader will never have to resort to anything drastic to protect the weak from the powerful, and then Mugabe has certainly gone too far. But in the real world, where the powerful and the wealthy subjected entire hemispheres to vast exploitation, where covert intelligence agencies routinely destabilize, steal, assassinate and bomb so that powerful nations stay on top, in a world where many talk about eliminating poverty and nobody does anything, in a world where everybody says that all races are created equal but then condone the fact that all races do not live equally... in such a non-theoretical world, we need the Mugabes and the Fidel Castros and the Hugo Chavez's to use the small modicum of power that they do have to turn the tide. So whereas we agree that Africans should turn their back on western wisdom, I still agree with Robert Mugabe and the majority of the Zimbabwean people... whether or not some naked old ladies will have the effect you desire, well I would hope that Mugabe is more resilient than that. I have no doubt that the naked elderly women's revolution has worked in Nigeria... but the Shona have different beliefs and I don't know how effective that tactic would be.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
We are not your enemy,
we are America's enemy,"
He yelled. "It was our mistake to fire at you, so why are you chasing us? We are all Africans!"
Those were the words uttered by the bloody insurgents of the Al Qaeda command in Algeria as they fought against Chadian soldiers in the desert just last year. They retreated after losing 28 men and they killed 20 Chadian soldiers in that battle. And till date more bloody confrontations are still going on in Africa between African soldiers and the terrorists. But, most people in America and Europe are totally ignorant of the war on terror going on in Africa. Because, they think it is only in Iraq and Afghanistan that the insurgents are on rampage. Not knowing that we in Africa are also sacrificing our lives in bloody battles with the bandits and terrorists trained by the Al Qaeda to launch their offensive incursions into the heart and soul of Africa. And the Pentagon is now fully engaged in training African soldiers to defend their countries against the Jihadists of Al Qaeda.
Below is an extract from the latest reports as published in the Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com
U.S. Pushes Anti-Terrorism in Africa
Under Long-Term Program, Pentagon to Train Soldiers of 9 Nations
By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff WriterTuesday, July 26, 2005; Page A01
N'DJAMENA, Chad -- The U.S. military is embarking on a long-term push into Africa to counter what it considers growing inroads by al Qaeda and other terrorist networks in poor, lawless and predominantly Muslim expanses of the continent.
The Pentagon plans to train thousands of African troops in battalions equipped for extended desert and border operations and to link the militaries of different countries with secure satellite communications. The initiative, with proposed funding of $500 million over seven years, covers Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco and Tunisia -- with the U.S. military eager to add Libya if relations improve.
The Pentagon is also assigning more military officers to U.S. embassies in the region, bolstering the gathering and sharing of intelligence, casing out austere landing strips for use in emergencies, and securing greater access and legal protections for U.S. troops through new bilateral agreements.
The thrust into Africa is vital to head off an infiltration by international terrorist groups, according to senior U.S. military, Pentagon and State Department officials. The groups are recruiting hundreds of members in Africa and Europe, attacking local governments and Western interests, and profiting from tribal smuggling routes to obtain arms, cash and hideouts, they say. Meanwhile, small groups of Islamic radicals are moving into Africa from Iraq, where Africans make up about a quarter of the foreign fighters, the officials say.
Foreshadowing a new phase in the war against terrorism, the Pentagon plan is to mobilize Africans to fight and preempt militant groups while only selectively using U.S. troops, who are already taxed by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But in mustering African forces, the U.S. military confronts not only a highly elusive enemy across a vast, desolate terrain but also the competing agendas of authoritarian African governments and corrupt and chaotic militaries on the ground.
Training With GI Joes
"Arretez!" yelled Sgt. 1st Class Brian of the U.S. Army Special Forces, waving his arms at a squad of Chadian soldiers bounding over a dirt berm in a windblown stretch of desert south of Chad's capital, N’djamena.
It was the first mock assault of the morning, and the Chadians, wearing mismatched uniforms, appeared to have forgotten every element of what the Americans had taught them. They were spread out too widely, standing up on the berm instead of crawling low, and their squad leader was omitting crucial orders.
"Tell them to check their men" for wounds, Brian shouted to an interpreter. It was only 7 a.m., but the energetic young Green Beret from Baltimore was exasperated. Citing security risks, the U.S. soldiers spoke on condition that only their first names be used.
Brian and about 1,000 other U.S. troops fanned out into North and West Africa last month for a major exercise to lay the groundwork for the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative approved this spring. In three weeks of initial training, Brian's team from 10th Special Forces Group and a team from the National Guard's 20th Special Forces Group glimpsed the challenge ahead in Chad, the world's fifth-poorest country and, according to the anti-corruption group Transparency International, the third most corrupt.
"It was like going to Mars," said Sgt. 1st Class Gary, a welder from Utica, N.Y., on the National Guard team.Green Berets are trained to navigate foreign cultures, but both teams lacked Africa expertise and were short on French and Arabic speakers. Each team was designed to have 12 members, but Gary's had nine men and Brian's had six. They were given the assignment on short notice after the 3rd Special Forces Group, which normally covers Africa, was deployed to Iraq.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
The news that that former US President Bill Clinton regrets the fact that he could have done something to prevent the Rwandan holocaust and he failed to do so is nonsense to me.
All these "Oh! I could have done some thing if only I knew" and "Had I known" are all American bullshit to me. Useless Medicine after death. Useless crocodile tears.
Look at the present genocide in the Darfur region in Sudan. What happened did not happen whilst the UN and the comity of nations were sleeping. The genocide in the Darfur happened in broad daylight before the eyes of the whole world and what did we do? What did those in authority and power with the means to prevent the catastrophe do? The UN was like a lame duck until recently and the rest of the world were only gaping and moping and gasping for breath watching the horrors of the massacres of helpless thousands and mass rape of helpless Sudanese women by the diabolical forces of the lawless Islamic rulers of Sudan for years and they only started running helter-skelter recently. But if they heard that the Islamic terrorists have bombed New York, Madrid or London, they would be screaming "blue murder" and jumping on their roof tops as if it was the end of the world. Their CNN and other Western news channels will be reporting the whole news 24/7 and with boring repetitions with only breaks for the adverts of their Western products and social marketing services. So, Bill Clinton's regrets are nothing more than Lip-Service Diplomacy and Eye-Service Chicanery for his own public image laundering in Africa. We don't need anymore crocodile tears in Africa and no medicine after death can save the thousands of helpless and hopeless poor masses of Africa who are still suffering and dying everyday by day in the Sudan, in Niger, in Ethiopia, in the Congo and other areas in distress in Africa.
Sokwanele! Enough is enough!
Clinton regrets personal
on Rwanda genocide
Sat Jul 23, 4:22 PM ET KIGALI (Reuters)
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton visiting a Rwandan genocide memorial on Saturday, expressed regret for his "personal failure" to prevent the 1994 slaughter of 800,000 people.
On a brief visit to look at projects in the central African country, Clinton laid a wreath at a museum commemorating victims of the 100-day massacre by extremists from the Hutu majority which took place during his presidency.
"I express regret for my personal failure," he said before touring the museum, which features graphic images of people being decapitated and bodies twitching on the road.
"I think it faithfully, honestly, painfully presents the truth of the Rwandan genocide," he told reporters after seeing the museum which his Clinton Foundation partially funded.
"It is an important contribution to the history of the world, that the world cannot afford to forget," he said.
Clinton apologized on a previous visit to Rwanda in 1998 for not recognizing the crime of genocide.
Clinton administration officials avoided the word in public for fear it would spark an outcry for action they were loathe to take, six months after U.S. troops were killed by Somali warlords in Mogadishu.
Rwanda was the last leg of Clinton's six nation African tour to see how the AIDS pandemic is affecting children on the world's poorest continent.
Friday, July 22, 2005
They can do anything for the dollars.
If there is a special Olympic Games for Internet Scams, Nigeria will come tops.
The incredible feats of these special breed of Nigerian criminals are to say the least mind-boggling. I mean the way many of them have succeeded to hoodwink and swindle their victims would make them the greatest magicians in the world.
They have so perfected their fraudulent practices that they now have branches overseas in several European countries. And they have expanded their network with tentacles in the Netherlands and Belgium.
There is no one on line on planet earth who has never received any of these annoying notorious Internet Scam letters promising you millions of dollars worth of contracts and others claiming to be refugees and victims of one predicament to another. In fact their list of "get rich- quick" schemes is endless. They have even beaten the Western masters in their own games. But, amazingly, the Nigerian masters are armless. Yet, they could wreck the business tycoons in America and Europe.
But, as the popular saying goes, "it takes two to tango". Because, only the equally criminal or greedy people have fallen for these criminal Internet Scams. They also wanted to conspire with these smart Alecs to swindle the Nigerian government and business enterprises and they ended up in the belly of the tiger. When they realize that they have been led astray and robbed in broad daylight, they now scream "blue murder" and run to the police and anti-financial crime force to help them to catch these Internet Scammers. And nemesis caught up with one of the most notorious Nigerian Internet Scammers, Amaka Anajemba. She was found guilty and jailed. But for only two and half years!?
I mean how could you give only a two and half years jail-term to a wicked crook and rogue who robbed her victims of over $242,000,000 (two hundred and forty-two million dollars.)? When such a diabolical thief should have been jailed for life and if possible throw away the key into the Atlantic ocean.
Here is the news report below.
Nigeria jails woman
in $242m email fraud case
LAGOS –– A Nigerian court has sentenced a woman to two and half years in jail after she pleaded guilty to fraud charges in the country's biggest e-mail scam case, the anti-fraud agency said on Saturday.
Amaka Anajemba, one of three suspects in a $242 million fraud involving a Brazilian bank, would return $48.5 million to the bank, hand over $5 million to the government and pay a fine of 2 million naira ($15,000), the agency said. Scams have become so successful in Nigeria that anti-sleaze campaigners say swindling is one of the country's main foreign exchange earners after oil, natural gas and cocoa.
Anajemba's sentencing by a Lagos High Court on Friday is the first major conviction since the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was established in 2003 to crack down on Nigeria's thriving networks of email fraudsters. The agency said in a statement that the judgment was "a landmark achievement by EFCC in the fight against advance fee fraud, corruption and other related crimes."
Typically fraudsters send out junk e-mails around the world promising recipients a share in a fortune in return for an advance fee. Those who pay never receive the promised windfall.
Anajemba, whose late husband masterminded the swindling of the Sao Paolo-based Banco Noroeste S.A. between 1995 and 1998, was charged along with Emmanuel Nwude and Nzeribe Okoli. The prosecution said the three accused obtained the $242 million by promising a member of the bank staff a commission for funding a non-existent contract to build an airport in Nigeria's capital Abuja. All three accused pleaded not guilty, but Anajemba later changed her mind to enter a guilty plea in order to receive a shorter sentence. Her prison term was backdated to start in January 2004 when she was first taken in custody.
The trial of the two others who maintained their not guilty pleas was adjourned to September. Ranked the world's second most corrupt country after Bangladesh by sleaze watchdog Transparency International, Nigeria has given new powers to the EFCC which is prosecuting about 200 fraud and corruption cases. The anti-fraud agency has arrested over 200 junk mail scam suspects since 2003. It says it has also confiscated property worth $200 million and secured 10 other convictions. ––
for war crimes in Liberia
International Pressure On Nigeria
To Surrender Former
Liberian President For Trial
By Gabi Menezes, Abidjan, 21 July 2005.
Charles TaylorNigeria is resisting mounting international pressure to extradite former Liberian President Charles Taylor for trial at an international tribunal on war crimes charges. Mr. Taylor went into exile in Nigeria in 2003 as part of a peace deal to end the civil war in Liberia. Nigeria says it will not extradite Mr. Taylor without proof of allegations he has violated the terms of his exile.
For two years, a U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone has wanted Charles Taylor to stand trial on war crimes charges related to allegations he stirred up a rebellion in Sierra Leone. The charges include murder, sexual slavery, and the use of child soldiers.
With rebels poised to attack Monrovia, Mr. Taylor agreed to step down in 2003, and go into exile in Nigeria as part of the terms of a peace deal to end 14 years of civil war.
A spokeswoman for Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Remi Oyo, says the offer of asylum was imperative to save the people of Liberia from further bloodshed, and to end decades of conflict.
"At that time, the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria said that Nigeria would not be harassed or intimidated over this humanitarian gesture, which had support of not only the United States, but also the countries in Western Europe," she said.
Western governments, including the United States, have repeatedly called for Mr. Taylor to be surrendered to the special court. Ms. Oyo says that Nigeria will consider giving up Mr. Taylor only after Liberian elections are held in October.
The civil war in Liberia split the country among various rebel movements. Mr. Taylor, as the leader of the largest-rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, has been accused of expanding the conflict into neighboring Sierra Leone by backing the Revolutionary United Front rebels, and profiting from Sierra Leone's diamond trade.
The Revolutionary United Front rebels launched an invasion against the Sierra Leonean government from Liberia in 1991, and were responsible for many atrocities, including hacking off victims' hands.
The prosecutor for Sierra Leone's Special Court, Desmond de Silva, says Nigeria should extradite Mr. Taylor because he has broken the terms of his exile.
"President Obasanjo took Taylor out of the equation in Liberia, and helped the peace process to start in Liberia, and we are all very grateful to President Obasanjo for having done that," he said. "But the fact is, it was quite clear, and Nigerian authorities have admitted it, that Taylor was taken into Nigeria on condition that he did not meddle in the affairs of Liberia and the affairs of West Africa."
In a recent report to the U.N. Security Council, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Mr. Taylor is suspected of trying to influence the outcome of Liberia's presidential election, due in October, which would be a clear violation of the exile agreement.
Although Mr. De Silva would not go into detail about the evidence against Mr. Taylor, he says it is important for regional stability that Mr. Taylor be put on trial before Liberia's elections. He also says it is vital to establish a principle that everyone, including heads of state, is subject to international law.
"One of the sadness of the world is that the big fish seem to escape the net," he said. "The object of these international criminal tribunals is to bring to account the biggest of the big fish. Now, these international courts are set up to bring the culture of impunity to an end, and [if] the big fish are seen to be escaping one way or another, then the culture of impunity will not be brought to an end."
Mr. de Silva's predecessor in the Special Court, David Crane, said Mr. Taylor was profiting from businesses in Liberia and a wide international criminal network. He also accused Mr. Taylor of backing candidates in Liberia's October elections.
On a recent visit to Liberia, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, called for Charles Taylor to stand trial, saying there cannot be a lasting peace without justice.
A West Africa researcher for the international advocacy group Human Rights Watch, Corinne Dufka, says African states are unlikely to support calls for Mr. Taylor's trial, and will remain silent on the issue.
"Nigeria is concerned about setting a precedent of a head of state being held accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity," she said. "As we know, there have been many crimes committed by African and other governments, by heads of state."
Human Rights Watch has joined a coalition of 300 African and international civil society groups asking the 53-member African Union to honor its human rights commitments, and bring Mr. Taylor to justice.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
"Do not snarl at Karl
Yet, I am not saying Karl Rove
Is as innocent as the dove.
But who will bear the blame
Of this American scandalous shame?
Is it not Wilson and Plame?
Or should we hang it on Novak
Whose slip of tongue
Caused the secret to leak?
He who is guilty of this treacherous crime
Should bear the shame of the slime."
-- Orikinla Osinachi-
I am very happy that this political uproar in America is making all Americans to now know Niger, an African country groping in the darkness of obscurity is now in the spotlight of the awesome American media.
The American public is very ignorant of Africa. They have erroneous information on Africa and they have been deceived by the American Lies of their media.
Now they know that we Africans possess in abundance the raw radio-active materials that the rest of the world will do anything to have even if they have to harass and embarrass their President and blow their cover to do so.
Please, relax and enjoy this American political soap opera
of high serio-comic drama. Free of charge; gratis.
But, we welcome your generous donations.
Marked As Secret
Memo Central to Probe Of Leak
Was Written By State Dept. Analyst
By Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, July 21, 2005; Page A01.
A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.
Plame -- who is referred to by her married name, Valerie Wilson, in the memo -- is mentioned in the second paragraph of the three-page document, which was written on June 10, 2003, by an analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), according to a source who described the memo to The Washington Post.
The paragraph identifying her as the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was clearly marked to show that it contained classified material at the "secret" level, two sources said. The CIA classifies as "secret" the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials.
Anyone reading that paragraph should have been aware that it contained secret information, though that designation was not specifically attached to Plame's name and did not describe her status as covert, the sources said. It is a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a federal official to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert CIA official if the person knows the government is trying to keep it secret.
Prosecutors attempting to determine whether senior government officials knowingly leaked Plame's identity as a covert CIA operative to the media are investigating whether White House officials gained access to information about her from the memo, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.
The memo may be important to answering three central questions in the Plame case: Who in the Bush administration knew about Plame's CIA role? Did they know the agency was trying to protect her identity? And, who leaked it to the media?
Almost the entire memo is devoted to describing why State Department intelligence experts did not believe claims that Saddam Hussein had in the recent past sought to purchase uranium from Niger. Only two sentences in the seven-sentence paragraph mention Wilson's wife.
The memo was delivered to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell on July 7, 2003, as he headed to Africa for a trip with President Bush aboard Air Force One. Plame was unmasked in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak seven days later.
Wilson has said his wife's identity was revealed to retaliate against him for accusing the Bush administration of "twisting" intelligence to justify the Iraq war. In a July 6 opinion piece in the New York Times and in an interview with The Washington Post, he cited a secret mission he conducted in February 2002 for the CIA, when he determined there was no evidence that Iraq was seeking uranium for a nuclear weapons program in the African nation of Niger.
White House officials discussed Wilson's wife's CIA connection in telling at least two reporters that she helped arrange his trip, according to one of the reporters, Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, and a lawyer familiar with the case.
Prosecutors have shown interest in the memo, especially when they were questioning White House officials during the early days of the investigation, people familiar with the probe said.
Karl Rove, President Bush's deputy chief of staff, has testified that he learned Plame's name from Novak a few days before telling another reporter she worked at the CIA and played a role in her husband's mission, according to a lawyer familiar with Rove's account. Rove has also testified that the first time he saw the State Department memo was when "people in the special prosecutor's office" showed it to him, said Robert Luskin, his attorney.
He had not seen it or heard about it before that time," Luskin said.
Several other administration officials were on the trip to Africa, including senior adviser Dan Bartlett, then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer and others. Bartlett's attorney has refused to discuss the case, citing requests by the special counsel. Fleischer could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Rove and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, have been identified as people who discussed Wilson's wife with Cooper. Prosecutors are trying to determine the origin of their knowledge of Plame, including whether it was from the INR memo or from conversations with reporters.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the memo made it clear that information about Wilson's wife was sensitive and should not be shared. Yesterday, sources provided greater detail on the memo to The Post.
The material in the memo about Wilson's wife was based on notes taken by an INR analyst who attended a Feb. 19, 2002, meeting at the CIA where Wilson's intelligence-gathering trip to Niger was discussed.
The memo was drafted June 10, 2003, for Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman, who asked to be brought up to date on INR's opposition to the White House view that Hussein was trying to buy uranium in Africa.
The description of Wilson's wife and her role in the Feb. 19, 2002, meeting at the CIA was considered "a footnote" in a background paragraph in the memo, according to an official who was aware of the process.
It records that the INR analyst at the meeting opposed Wilson's trip to Niger because the State Department, through other inquiries, already had disproved the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger. Attached to the INR memo were the notes taken by the senior INR analyst who attended the 2002 meeting at the CIA.
On July 6, 2003, shortly after Wilson went public on NBC's "Meet the Press" and in The Post and the New York Times discussing his trip to Niger, the INR director at the time, Carl W. Ford Jr., was asked to explain Wilson's statements for Powell, according to sources familiar with the events. He went back and reprinted the June 10 memo but changed the addressee from Grossman to Powell.
Ford last year appeared before the federal grand jury investigating the leak and described the details surrounding the INR memo, the sources said. Yesterday he was on vacation in Arkansas, according to his office.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
In Nigeria, President Obasanjo has been called a liar in the forthcoming book "THE PRESIDENT LIED" by Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima and in America President Bush has been called a liar by millions of Americans on the street, in the media and even in the Congress.
THE GENESIS OF TRAITOR-GATE
STARTED IN NIGERIA
The current crisis of trust implicating Karl Rove and others actually started in Nigeria and it is a very complicated case that could even worsen the complications and implications of the controversial case.
Please, take time to read the following reports:
with Nigeria ban
President Obasanjo backs the embargo against Halliburton:
Nigeria has placed an embargo on government contracts with a subsidiary of US oil services firm Halliburton.
It said it was taking action against Halliburton Energy Services Nigeria (HESN) as a result of negligence in security and safety matters.
In 2002, radiation emitting devices used by the firm to make measurements in oil wells were reported missing in Nigeria's oil-rich Delta region.
The equipment was eventually traced to a location in Germany.
At the time, Halliburton was accused of doing too little to help the Nigerian authorities recover the equipment.
"The federal government has decided to place an embargo on the patronage of Halliburton Energy Services Nigeria Limited arising from its negligent conduct which led to the loss of two ionizing radioactive sources from Nigeria in 2002," a government statement said.
"Additionally, the company, among other infractions, has refused to cooperate with government authorities in ensuring the return of the sources to Nigeria and the ultimate resolution of the issue," it said.
All contracts between the company and any Nigerian ministry or government agency would stop until further notice, the statement said, adding the ban had been approved by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Halliburton, which was headed by US Vice-President Dick Cheney until he took office in 2001, operates in both Nigeria's oil and natural gas sectors.
Bush lavishes Tenet, CIA with support
July 13, 2003
By Bill Sammon
THE WASHINGTON TIMEShttp://www.washtimes.com/national/20030712-115338-4028r.htm
ABUJA, Nigeria -
President Bush yesterday praised CIA Director George J. Tenet a day after he took the blame for Mr. Bush's questionable claim that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Africa."I've got confidence in George Tenet," the president told reporters during a visit to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo's villa in Abuja. "I've got confidence in the men and women who work at the CIA."
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer warned that "a greater, more important truth is being lost in the flap" over the disputed claim, which was included in the president's State of the Union address in January. That truth, Mr. Fleischer said, is that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons, regardless of whether he tried to buy uranium from Africa.Hoping to shift attention to that broader aspect of the story, the White House appeared relieved that Mr. Tenet took the blame."The president is pleased that the director of central intelligence acknowledged what needed to be acknowledged, which was the circumstances surrounding the State of the Union speech," Mr. Fleischer told reporters at a Nigerian hospital Mr. Bush was touring."The president said that line because it was based on information from the intelligence community and the speech was vetted," he added.
The spokesman suggested that the White House had been pressing Mr. Tenet for days to take the blame for the questionable claim, which turned out to be based in part on forged documents."Discussions with Director Tenet about the statement have been going on for days," Mr. Fleischer said. "The discussion was: The CIA needs to explain what its role was in this. And the best way for any entity in the government to explain its role is to issue a statement."Those discussions apparently came to a head on Thursday, when National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice telephoned Mr. Tenet from Africa, where she was traveling with Mr. Bush. The White House had become concerned about news reports quoting unnamed CIA officials as blaming the president for the questionable claim.
After hanging up with Mr. Tenet, Miss Rice told reporters aboard Air Force One that the CIA director had signed off on the final text of the president's State of the Union address. She emphasized the president would have removed that line if Mr. Tenet had raised a red flag.Hours later, Mr. Tenet issued his mea culpa, taking full responsibility for what has become a burgeoning political tempest in Washington and on the campaign trail of Democrats eager to unseat Mr. Bush."It's appropriate for the CIA to speak out," Mr. Fleischer said.
Asked who brought up the idea of a statement - the White House or the CIA - Mr. Fleischer replied: "It was mutual."The spokesman suggested that Mr. Bush expected the Tenet statement to quell the controversy."The president sees this as much ado, that it's beside the point of the central threat that Saddam Hussein presented," he said. "The president has moved on. And I think, frankly, much of the country has moved on, as well."
But before moving on entirely, Mr. Fleischer criticized Joseph C. Wilson, the retired U.S. diplomat who touched off the flap one week ago by accusing the Bush administration of distorting evidence "to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."
Mr. Wilson made the accusation in an op-ed column in the New York Times and repeated it on television.Although he opposed the war against Iraq and helped shape former President Bill Clinton's Africa policy, Mr. Wilson was nonetheless asked by the Bush administration's CIA in February 2002 to check out reports that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger.After an eight-day visit to Niger, Mr. Wilson reported back that Niger denied the reports. But his report did not address whether any documents had been forged to support the claim of an attempt to buy uranium.
Yesterday, Mr. Fleischer pointed out that Mr. Wilson, whom he described as a "lower-level" former official, omitted a more ominous anecdote from his op-ed piece.
In June 1999, Mr. Wilson was asked by a businessman to meet with Iraqis to discuss an Iraq-Niger business deal - which Mr. Wilson interpreted as uranium sales.
"This is in Wilson's report back to the CIA - Wilson's own report," Mr. Fleischer said. "The very man who was on television saying Niger denies it, who never said anything about forged documents, reports himself that officials in Niger said that Iraq was seeking to contact officials in Niger about sales."
CIA Stopped Iraq Nuclear Mention in Oct. Speech
July 13, 2003.
By REUTERShttp://www.nytimes.com/reuters/news/news-bush-iraq-uranium.htmlWASHINGTON (Reuters) -
The CIA intervened to stop the White House from making a reference to Iraq seeking uranium from Niger in a presidential speech last October, according to senior U.S. officials, the Washington Post said on Sunday.Three months before a less specific reference to the same intelligence was used in President Bush's January State of the Union address, CIA Director George Tenet argued to White House officials it should not be used because it came from only a single source, the newspaper reported, citing one senior official.The Post cited another senior official with knowledge of the intelligence as saying the CIA had doubts about the accuracy of the documents underlying the allegations, which turned out to be forged.
The report said it was unclear why Tenet personally intervened to prevent the intelligence about Niger from appearing in the earlier presidential speech but did not do so again for the State of the Union address in January.
Speaking in Abuja on Saturday, Bush said he had confidence in Tenet and considered the controversy over false U.S. claims to be closed. Tenet took responsibility on Friday for the claim by Bush over Iraq's nuclear ambitions.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
I am posting this very important article on the reaction of Tony Blair to the terrorist bomb attacks in London on July 7, 2005. It was written by Arthur Weinreb, the Associate Editor of the Canada Free Press.
"Greater London has around eleven million people, and every day about 400 of them die of natural causes. Yesterday closer to 450 died, and almost 10 per cent of the day’s deaths were due to terrorism. Today another 400 Londoners will die, none of them from terrorism."
Media / Media Bias:
CBC mocks Tony Blair's reaction
to terrorist attacks and minimizes casualties
By Arthur Weinreb, Associate Editor, Canada Free Press Tuesday, July 12, 2005.
In a CBC Radio commentary that aired the day after the horrific terrorist attacks in London, journalist Gwynne Dyer described British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s reaction by saying:
"…the sounds that came out of his mouth were unmistakably British. Yet the words were not. They were George Bush-style rhetoric about how British values and the British way of life are under attack by these terrorists. Only they’re not, really, and most people in London know it."
Dyer, like the network that he provided the commentary for, likes to blame George Bush for any and all acts of Muslim extremism. Dyer mentions that London was attacked because that country has troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. In his effort to minimize and excuse the actions of Islamic terrorists, the commentator completely ignores the fact that acts of Islamic terror; the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the bombings of two American Embassies in Africa in 1998, the attack on the USS Cole in 2000 and 9/11 all preceded the presence of coalition forces in either Afghanistan or Iraq. Then again, facts are not important when it comes to attacking George Bush and Tony Blair for standing up to terrorism.
Dyer goes on to make ridiculous comparisons between the IRA and the Islamic terrorists. He says that the IRA never wanted to end the British way of life; they only wanted British troops out of Northern Ireland, as if this fact was somehow proof positive that Muslim extremists are not attempting to destroy the Western way of life.
And what does Gwynne Dyer have to say about those who were killed or maimed in the bombings? He seems to view the deaths in much of the way Joseph Stalin, undoubtedly one of his idols, would. Stalin once said, "One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic". On speaking of those who lost their lives in London’s transportation system on July 7, Dyer said, "Greater London has around eleven million people, and every day about 400 of them die of natural causes. Yesterday closer to 450 died, and almost 10 per cent of the day’s deaths were due to terrorism. Today another 400 Londoners will die, none of them from terrorism."
The fact that a commentary would air on the CBC the day after 7/7, blaming George Bush and the West for the attacks is hardly surprising. But even those Canadians who think that Bush and U.S. foreign policy are to blame for the acts of Islamic extremists should be outraged at the rendering of the innocents who died on July 7 to a mere statistic; nothing more than a slight blip in the ordinary cycle of birth and death.
Canadian taxpayers shell out approximately $1 billion a year to fund the CBC. We could find a better use for that money than to have it fund nonsense like this. One billion could sure feed a lot of starving Africans.
Arthur Weinreb is an author, columnist and Associate Editor of Canada Free Press. His work as appeared on Newsmax.com, Men's News Daily, the Drudge Report, Foxnews.com and The Rant. He can be reached at email@example.com
Saturday, July 16, 2005
"We are freedom fighters. It is wrong to call us terrorists."
We cannot reveal his identity. And we are also publishing the comprehensive reports on the dangerous developments in Nigeria indicating the existence of an Al Qaeda Network in the Northern region of Nigeria, from 2002 to date.
THE CONFESSION OF A
REPENTANT SUICIDE BOMBER.
Osama bin Laden sets eyes on Nigeria.
The Islamists in Nigeria.
Osama bin Laden cites Nigeria in one of his recent announcements.
THE CONFESSION OF A REPENTANT SUICIDE BOMBER
I am alive today, because I changed my mind.
God saved my life.
It was on the 5th of July last year, and we could have done what would have been the worst catastrophic terrorist attack in the history of Nigeria since the civil war. And it was very easy. But I was depressed. I thought of the grave consequences. I was troubled. But, I did not let the others around me to know what was wrong. I was smiling and pretending that all was well. But that was far from the truth.
There is no security in Nigeria. I have passed through the security barriers of the most important military headquarters in Nigeria. And it took me five months to break through their security barriers. I worked with my girlfriends to befriend these high ranking Nigerian military officers who cannot resist the temptations of sexy looking young college students. They salivate at the first sight of a beautiful and voluptuous young lady. And I had so many of them. But the girls never knew about my ulterior motives, because I always played the fool- a perfect disguise. And the military officers let their guards down. These randy military officers will do anything for sex. And they were all married.
I will not mention names here for security reasons.
Now coming to the US Embassy on the Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria. It is well situated near the lagoon. So there is a direct sea route. But, the security there is like the security provided for any ordinary military base. The security is only good to check visitors and strangers. The front of the building is well secured. But, unfortunately the back is like a sitting duck. Terrorists could hit the US Embassy from the back at anytime any day.
There is a refuse disposal truck coming to the embassy every week, and that could be hijacked on the way to the embassy and before the security officers at the gate could detect anything, the embassy would have been blown to rubble within seconds.
The embassy could also be hit with an ordinary rocket propelled missile from across the Lagos lagoon. So, the US Embassy is a sitting duck waiting to be hit anytime.
In short, there is no security in Nigeria that can prevent terrorist attacks.
But, I have repented and decided to eschew all acts of violence.
But, all the others in the network don’t know this.
SHARIA LAW THREATENS NIGERIA'S STABILITY
Major New Freedom House Report Finds Africa's Largest Nation Faces Rapid Spread of Extreme Islamic Law.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Paul Marshall, (202) 296-5101 ext. 126
WASHINGTON, DC, March 27, 2002.
As Nigeriaproceeds to sentence a second woman to death by stoning under a northern states' controversial sharia law, Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom today released a major report documenting the brutal and destabilizing effects of the growth of extremist sharia, Islamic law, in Nigeria. The101-page report, entitled," The Talibanization of Nigeria: Sharia Law and Religious Freedom," finds profound violations of human rights and religious freedom, which undermine Nigeria's democratization-process.
"The March 25 decision not to stone a woman to deathfor adultery was based only on a technicality and does nothing to reverse or moderate sharia," stated Dr. Paul Marshall, Senior Fellow at Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom. The Talibanization of Nigeria is based on research in several countries and a fact-finding mission to Nigeria, led by Dr.Marshall who interviewed religious leaders,government officials, human rights activists, and victims of religious discrimination throughout Nigeria. The report warns that if left unchecked, sharia's further spread could provoke widespread inter-religious conflict, and transform Nigeria, Africa's largest nation, into a center of radicalIslamism, linked to foreign radical groups and governments. Currently, 12 of Nigeria's 36 states have adopted or intend to adopt sharia. "The enforcement of extreme sharia violates all human rights, especially religious freedom, and destabilizes this already fragile country," said Dr.Marshall. The report proposes policy recommendations to the U.S. and Nigerian governments to prevent thispivotal African nation from sliding into lawlessness and terror, like Afghanistan under the Taliban. Many of Nigeria's Muslim and non-Muslim citizens face barbaric treatment from Hizbah (religious enforcers). Hizbah vigilantes mete out harsh,on-the-spot, extra-legal punishments for such"un-Islamic" activities as violating dress codes and questioning Islamic teachings. Women caught riding alone in taxis are subject to physical abuse by the Hizbah. In May 2001, an Islamic court in Katsina State ordered the removal the left eye of Ahmed Tijjani, who was found guilty of partially blinding a friend during an argument. Two months later in Birnin-Kebbi, a sharia court ordered 15-year-old Abubakar Aliyu's hand amputated for stealing the equivalent of $300. But, Dr. Marshall emphasizes that the effect on human rights is far more profound and far wider than the matter of inhuman treatment. As the following examples show, Nigeria's new sharia undermines basic human rights: Sharia is imposed on all Muslims even if they want to be tried in a constitutionally mandated court, thus subverting Nigeria's democratic order; Sharia legitimizes the killing of Muslims who exercise their right to change their religion; Sharia results in corporal punishment or death sentences for women for alleged sexual crimes,whereas men are invariably not punished; Non-Muslims are barred from being judges,prosecutors, and lawyers in the sharia courts to which they can be subject, thus making them second-class citizens.Though some form of sharia has long been part of Nigeria's civil law, some Nigerian states are expanding sharia jurisdiction to criminal law matters in ways that violate Nigeria's constitution and international human rights standards. The report cites the deaths of as many as 6,000 Christians, Muslims and others, many hacked to death with knives and swords, in conflicts precipitated by the new laws. Restrictions on the construction of churches have increased and dozens of churches inthe northern sharia states have been destroyed. Dr.Marshall said "The West should be aware that extreme sharia in Nigeria creates widespread persecution of the churches and violently polarizes the Christian and Muslim communities." The report concludes that if left unchecked, the rapid spread of extreme sharia law could push Nigeria into civil war. Already torn by ethnic and religious conflict, and with a history of military dictatorship, Nigeria has only recently embarked on a democratic path, albeit tentatively. The report indicates that while there is no evidence that terrorist groups allied with Al Qaeda are operating in Nigeria, the country is experiencing the rapid growth of the type of Islamic extremism from which Bin Laden has drawn support. There are indications that this growth is being supported by foreign radical Islamic regimes and organizations, such as Sudan and Saudi Arabia, and some foreign radicals have been involved in the violence. Since September 11, demonstrations in support of Osama BinLaden have taken place in Nigeria, and hundreds of civilians have been killed in rioting between Bin Laden supporters and Christians. The Freedom House report urges the U.S. government to revise its foreign assistance programs in Nigeria to assist the Nigerian government in overcoming Islamic extremism.
Dr. Marshall is the author of many books, includingthe best-selling, award-winning book "Their Blood Cries Out", a detailed study of persecuted Christians worldwide. He is the editor of "Religious Freedom in the World: A Global Survey of Freedom and Persecution."
Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom works to stop religious repression by documenting andpublicizing restrictions on religious and other human rights, and by mobilizing public support in defense of those who are imprisoned, tortured, exiled, or otherwise persecuted for religious reasons. The report, priced at $8, is available from FreedomHouse's Center for Religious Freedom; it isavailable without charge to the media and government offices. Selections from the report are available on
-- Regions/Countries --Central Africa, East Africa, North Africa, Pan Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa---Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Al-Qaeda... is US Embassy in Nigeria a Target.
This Day (Lagos)
June 19, 2005 Posted to the web on June 20, 2005
Paul Ohia. Lagos.
With the closure last Thursday of the Consulate of the United States Embassy in Lagos, followed the next day by the missions of Germany, Italy, Finland, Russia, Sweden, India and Lebanon, there are now palpable fears that the Al-Quaeda network of Osama Bin Laden, might have infiltrated Nigeria in its bid to wreck havoc on US interests. THISDAY gathered at the weekend that the tip-off relied upon by the US embassy was supplied by an anonymous Nigerian but the questions remain: how real and genuine was this terror scare? Or was there more to it than mere security alert?
Walter Carrington Crescent is the most popular street in Lagos when it comes to diplomatic matters. It is shaped like a loop and has only one entrance. United States, Italy, Lebanon, the Netherlands and Russia have diplomatic missions on the road. In fact, nearly all the embassies of the most influential countries in teh world are located therein and despite the busy activities noticeable in the zone, the serenity of the crescent is second to none. A sharp contrast to the peacefulness of Walter Carrington was displayed last Friday when there was an unusual security presence in the zone. Vehicles were screened with bomb detection devices by members of the Nigerian police and hundreds of gun totting security men paraded the area.
This was a precautionary measure taken as a result of a statement released by the American government last week that it has received threats from terrorists that an attack was imminent on US interests in Nigeria. Because of this terror scare, US temporarily closed its consulate and those of Britain, Germany, Italy, Russia and other nations followed suit.
Nigerian security officials who spoke to THISDAY on conditions of anonymity said there were telephone calls to the embassy which warned of attacks. The security officials offered no further details.
Corroborating this, a US military spokewoman, Major Holly Silkman said in Dakar, Senegal that "there was some kind of terrorist threat made" adding that the threat was called in.
A statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said that the Nigerian government has begun "to investigate and address the situation, in collaboration with the United States authorities."
Following the development, the US embassy in Abuja operated with only skeletal services while embassy officials spoke tarsely on the situation.
The British Foreign Office in London said that it decided to shut its Deputy High Commission in Lagos following the closure of nearby US consulate while its Deputy High commissioner Martin Shearman said "We'll reassess over the weekend, but the plan is to reopen on Monday."
Germany also closed its mission in Lagos for security reasons, according to its Foreign Ministry in Berlin.
In Washington State Department Spokeswoman, Angela Aggeler described the Abuja embassy as closed. Her words:"The consulate in Lagos is closed. Abuja remains open, but has minimal staff."
Many Nigerians who got wind of the incidence on Friday and yesterday questioned whether the threat by Al-Qaeda was being backed by any Nigerian collaborators but a diplomatic source said: "This is not a Nigerian source and there is not necessarily Nigerian participation, but we can't be sure of that."
Elsewhere in the money market the dollar fell against the euro and Swiss franc after the US, Britain and Germany shut diplomatic missions in Lagos.
Origin of Threats to Nigeria
In his last official video broadcast in the Arab television station al-Jazeera, al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, had singled out Nigeria, because of its close ties with Washington, as a country worthy of jihad. With this declaration, bin-Laden made the threat of a terrorist attack on Nigerian soil a very real possibility.
Following this broadcast, a United States intelligence expert and former ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Princeton Lyman spoke on an American television CBN where he said that investigations has unfolded that after the dreaded Middle East terrorist group, Al-Qaeda was chased out of Afghanistan, it has shifted base to Nigeria in which its influence is growing by the day.
Lyman said that the investigation done by the United Nations has uncovered surreptitious training bases of al-Qaeda in support of his conclusion that Nigeria is a natural terrorist target.
His words: "You have 60 million or more Muslims in Nigeria. It is the most populous state, and it is a country in which there has been a long history of religious tension, sometimes well-managed, sometimes not well-managed. If you wanted to target a state in West Africa, that's the one you target."
Lyman justified his fears on the fact that Nigeria is a leading oil producer and a major source of oil supply to the US.
Lyman said, "twenty-percent of the new oil coming on the market over the next decade is going to come from West Africa, and U.S. companies alone are going to be investing about 50 billion dollars up and down West Africa. Nigeria is a major part of that."
The fact that slashing the West's oil arteries has become a major part of Al Qaeda's terror tactics since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on World Trade Centre, New York and other places lent credence to Lyman's message. Experts believe that by hitting oil targets in other countries, terrorists can hit the US economically.
The intelligence expert warned that frustration among the population is a breeding ground for terrorist actions adding that intelligence experts have ignored Nigeria for a long time on every level including intelligence gathering.
Also related to Lyman's allegation was a briefing of the US congress by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) where the body has pointed out that fanatical Islam is attracting a huge number of people from Nigeria's Muslim community. CIA said that the rise of religious extremism is threatening to turn Africa's most populous nation into a breeding ground for international terrorists.
The popular view was that Al-Qaeda hit the consciousness of Nigerians after the group successfully hit American interests including the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon, headquarters of US defence complex by hijacking commercial passenger planes which were crashed into the target areas on September 11, 2001.
Washington Post, a leading US publication, said last year that the next Hotbed of Al-Qaeda's radicalism is Nigeria. It alleged that Osama bin Laden had sent emissaries to Nigeria in an effort to unite Islamic groups under the umbrella of al Qaeda and Howard Jeter, the then US ambassador to Nigeria warned that the country faces real threat of al Qaeda attack because of its close ties with Washington.
Are there Other Factors?
Notwithstanding all these, there are many people within government, who believe the recent alarm has more to do with politics than security. The thinking is that the US may not be comfortable with the move by Nigeria to have its debt cancelled. The Nigerian government has been moving towards having a debt buy-back in which part of the debt would be written off while it would use a sizable chunk of its reserve to pay off the remaining and this is part of the on-going negotiations at the Paris Club meetings. But observers believe this thinking may not be correct for two reasons. One, the move to have Nigeria's debt partly cancelled is being supported by the US and if the country does not back the bid, it is as good as dead.
The second reason is that in recent times, the US has been known to close its embassy in many countries at the slightest observation of an attack. Late last month, it closed its embassy in Indonesia citing an unspecified terrorist threat just as the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was in Washington to strenthen ties with America.
The closure included all American government offices including consulate general in Surabaya. Just like in Nigeria, the US told its citizens that the threat of terror attack remains high. Before then, the citizens have been warned to avoid trabel to Indonesia and to take security precautions if the travel was very necessary.
The case of Indonesia was quite understandable because several blasts have been recorded in the country.
Earlier on December 2004, the US had advised its citizens traveling to Afghanistan to be cautious since the country's election was at hand.
"We take this opportunity to remind the community of the continuing threats outlined in the current Travel Warning for Afghanistan and Worldwide Caution Public Announcement." a statement by Russel J. Brown, Consul US Embassy in Kabul had said.
Saudi Arabia, the native land of bin Laden has been witnnessing series of embassy closures. On a particular warning issued in November 2003, the US stated that terrorists have hatched an attack in the kingdom adding that the embassy "continues to receive credible information that terrorists in Saudi Arabia have moved from the planning to operational phase of planned attacks in the kingdom."
It cautioned American citizens in the kingdom to be extra vigilant when in any area perceived to be American or Western.
In the case of Sri Lanka, Embassy were evacuated Tuesday after it received mail containing a suspicious powder. The embassy's staff was gathered in the building's auditorium and were told to evacuate the building in 10 minutes.
Minutes later, the nearby building which houses USAID, the embassy's publicity division and the American public library were also shut down indefinitely.
Also, the US Embassy and American Center in New Delhi, India, were closed because of security concerns. Indian newspapers reported that the embassy was warned of a possible attack by terrorists, but officials did not give a specific reason.
In 2001, the US Embassy in Colombo received mail containing a white powdery substance, raising worries over anthrax. However, subsequent investigations proved the powder did not contain anthrax spores.
Late last month, President Olusegun Obasanjo brought all the issue of US concern for Nigeria's security to the consciousness of the whole country when he presented to the National Assembly a US report that said that Nigeria will break up in the next 15 years.
The report also highlighted about 20 potential sources of danger to a US citizen visiting Nigeria but did not leave out the al-Qaeda threat. Also cited are links to the dreaded al-Qaeda's threat to overthrow the nation's civilian administration
The President reacted to the report by stating his belief that we can and should disprove the modern experts of the United States Intelligence Council who are like prophets of doom. We must be determined to show that we are neither a basket case nor walking on a banana peel."
A six man adhoc committee was set up by the Senate to study the report but not until after the house had condemned it in various terms. Uche Chukwumerije, the chairman of Senate committee in communication had said that America since 1959 forecast the collapse of Cuba under Fidel Castro which is yet to happen but cautioned that Nigeria should take the report as more of a challenge in disguise.
"This paper (report) is not from prophets of doom but from accomplished terror psychologists. They are out to cause social dehydration. Nigeria is going to become a challenge to the Western World," he said, adding that the report would end as "a touch-light that would illuminate our path, it will expose our weaknesses." he said.
Other senators condemned it with words like "prophecy of doom", "social rehydration" etc while Senator Ibrahim Mantu recalled that in 1998 and 2001, the same US Intelligence Council had predicted that Nigeria was on the brink of disintegration and that when it collapses it would be impossible to rise from the ruins. Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora went spiritual when he told the Senate that many were the affliction of Nigeria but "God has always rescued us"
But the US reacted further by urging the government not to ignore the report. The US embassy Counsellor for Public Affairs, Mrs. Claudio Anyaso said that Nigeria should learn from the ravaging HIV/AIDS pandemic and terrorist attacks which the US issued warning about many years before their manifestation.
She explained that the country even issues reports on its internal affairs which have nothing to do with other countries adding that even the these have often been ignored to the chagrin of Americans.
Her words: "There was a report done several years ago, a report done in the US on national security. It was a Congressional Committee that asked them to do the report. The report specifically looked at national security issues. The report was submitted and kept on the shelves. Nobody really took it seriously until 9/11."
She said that many of the things contained in the report wanted the Congress and the US government to create homeland security to make the US more secure.
She, however, commended President Olusegun Obasanjo's response to the letter. The US official dismissed insinuations that the report was targeted at Nigeria.
"I think this report is looking at sub-Saharan Africa, not just Nigeria. Looking at trends that may take place in the future. For its worth, you will be the people who will look at the report, agree with the report, disagree with the report and see how some of those trends may be," she said.
Religious Bloodsheds in Nigeria
Religious fights in Nigeria has always been a reference point for the US when talking of the likelihood of terror network in Nigeria despite the fact that such factors predated the present definition of terrorism.
There analysis takes into consideration that the country has a population of about 140 million people that is divided roughly evenly between Muslims and Christians.
The influence of bin Laden in these religious fights have never been talked about until he recently named the country as needing liberation. Moreover, the agitation for better life standard which has made many Nigerians to identify with anybody that offers liberation has been misread by the Western world as meaning that the citizens can join al-Qaeda.
Incidentally, a travel warning by the US for Nigeria updated last month, alleged that links were uncovered connecting Nigerians to al Qaeda in 2004.
Meanwhile, a small home-grown Islamic sect known as the "Talibans" has been lending credence to this by staging a series of attacks on government offices and police stations in the remote northeast and calling for the imposition of an Islamic state.
The US is also irked that some states in the Muslim-dominated north of Nigeria maintains close contacts with the rest of the Islamic world, and plays host to many clerics from Saudi Arabia, Iran and elsewhere.
They argue that Nigeria's border with Niger and Chad are porous noting that they are two Islamic nations with long histories of poverty and rebellion that make them a fertile recruiting ground for anti-US militants.
Terrorism Travel Warnings
From time to time, the US issues travel warning to its citizens about Nigeria but what makes the latest issued on May 20,2005 unique is that it added that there are concerns about the presence of groups and individuals linked to international terrorism. The American Department of State warned US citizens of the dangers of travel to the country which includes the lack of law and order in Nigeria which it said poses considerable risks to travelers.
"Violent crime committed by ordinary criminals, as well as by persons in police and military uniforms, can occur throughout the country. Kidnapping for ransom of persons associated with the petroleum sector, including US citizens, remains common in the Niger Delta area. Religious tension between some Muslim and Christian communities results in occasional acts of isolated communal violence that could erupt quickly and without warning." the statement said.
The State Department singled out the states of Kano and Kaduna as particularly volatile. It warned that rival ethnic groups have clashed violently in the Niger Delta region around Warri city and in Southeast Plateau State.
Noteworthy is the emphasis that Senior al-Qaida leadership has expressed interest publically in overthrowing the government of Nigeria and claims that links were uncovered connecting Nigerians to al-Qaida in 2004.
It went on, "Periodically, travel by US mission personnel is restricted based on changing security conditions, often due to general strike or student/political demonstrations. US citizens should contact the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the US Consulate General in Lagos for up-to-date information on these restrictions."
US said that road travel in Nigeria is dangerous adding that robberies by armed gangs have been reported on rural roads and within major cities. "Travelers should avoid driving at night. Because of poor vehicle maintenance and driving conditions, public transportation throughout Nigeria can be dangerous and should be avoided. Taxis pose risks because of the possibility of fraudulent or criminal operators, old and unsafe vehicles, and poorly maintained roads. Road travel in Lagos is banned between 7:00 and 10:00 AM on the last Saturday of every month for municipal road cleanup; police vigilantly enforce the ban." the statement said
It said that most Nigerian airlines have aging fleets, and that maintenance and operational procedures may be inadequate to ensure passenger safety. Futhermore it warned that some Nigerian-based criminals conduct advance fee fraud and other scams that target foreigners worldwide and that these fraudulent activities pose great risk of financial loss.
"Recipients traveling to Nigeria to pursue such fraudulent offers have been subject to physical harm, and local police authorities are often unwilling to help in such cases. No one should provide personal financial or account information to unknown parties. Under no circumstances should US citizens travel to Nigeria without a valid visa -- an invitation to enter Nigeria without a visa is normally indicative of illegal activity." it said.
According to the warning, the ability of US Embassy officers to extricate US citizens from unlawful business deals and their consequences is limited therefor persons contemplating business deals in Nigeria are strongly urged to check with the US Department of Commerce or the US Department of State before providing any information or making any financial commitments. Finally, US citizens who travel to or reside in Nigeria despite the Travel Warning were strongly advised to register through the State Department's travel registration website.
Taylor's Al-Qaeda 'Connection'
Recently, a United Nations-backed Sierra Leonean war crime tribunal alleged that the former Liberian president, Charles Taylor who is on exile in Nigeria has links with the Al-Qaeda. The court officials said that the major reason why Taylor is working with the group is to destabilize the entire West African sub-region.
They maintained that the former liberian warlord's involvement with al-Qaeda was enough to turn the sub region to another Afghanistan.
Briefing a closed session of the UN Security Council, chief court investigator Alan White said he had enough evidence of Mr. Taylor's active involvement in several efforts to instigate rumpus in the region. According to him, Taylor attempted to assassinate Guinean President Lansana Conte last January. "In November, we started learning about a plot that Charles Taylor and others in the region were trying to engage in destabilizing the region. In particular Guineaâ-oe We reported it in November, and we reported it in December in January it went down exactly the way our sources had reported it was going to occur, and that is on January 19th the assassination attempt on president Conte," he said.
The tribunal chief said that al-Qaeda's operation with Taylor has been long linking him to an earlier attack in Kenya by the group.
"Al Qaeda has been in West Africa, it continues to be in West Africa, and Charles Taylor has been harboring members of al Qaeda to include those part of allegedly the takedown of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. He harbored them in 1998, we have activities as late as six April 2005," he said.
He insisted that the solution was to have the Council pass a resolution praising Nigeria's role in removing the former Liberian president but said: "It is clear that until Charles Taylor is brought to justice he will be an immediate clear and present danger to the threat and peace and security, not only to Liberia, but the entire West African region."
But President obasajo said that he wanted proof for all the allegations against Taylor. "I will want to see incontrovertible evidence of what wrong Charles Taylor has done since he was taken to Nigeria,".
Obasanjo argued further that it had been a global decision that Nigeria grant Taylor asylum in 2003 to help stabilise West Africa and end years of conflict in Liberia by removing him from power.
"All the major countries of the world agreed the condition for taking Charles Taylor out was to prevent a bloodbath in Liberia. It was a humanitarian act that everyone agreed to," he said.
Late September 2004, there was a report from Borno State that armed Islamic group killed seven people. The police commenced a man hunt of the group of 40 said to wearing red bandanas and crying "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great).
They attacked two police stations and made off with looted ammunition. The militants dubbed the Taleban had earlier stormed several police stations in Borno and neighbouring Yobe State claiming that they wish to set up an Islamic government in Nigeria.
The gory news was that three police officers, including a woman constable who was briefly abducted, and seven civilians were killed in the attacks in the towns of Bama and Gworza, 40kms apart.
None of the attackers, who carried a flag with an Islamic symbol during the raid, were apprehended after their activities. This prompted an emergency security meeting in Borno state capital Maiduguri and Deputy Police Commissioner Aliyu Musa sent mobile police units and military reinforcements after the men.
Chris Olakpe the police spokesman in Abuja said he believed the militiamen had crossed the border from neighbouring Niger.
January the same year some of their members were killed and some arrested but police said most of them managed to escape.
May 12 this year Militants torched houses in Plateau State, in an attempt to drive out Christians and pave the way for strict Islamic law. The group calling themselves the 'Taliban' issued a threat to Christians returning to their homes after the aids.
The extremists put three houses to the torch in Wase, Plateau State, when the occupants were out .
Embassy Attacks in Africa
On August 7, 1998, the United States embassies in the East African capital cities of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, were severely damaged in nearly simultaneous truck bomb attacks. 213 people were killed in Nairobi and dozen others in Dar es Salaam. Estimates put the number injured in Kenya at 4000 while 85 were injured in Dar es Salaam. The victims were African civilians and several US diplomats. It was this bombing that first brought Osama bin Laden and al-qaeda to limelight.
But Taliban-controlled Afghanistan labeled bin Laden a man without a sin regarding the bombing. The initial investigation into the bombing were conducted by US FBI and Kenyan and Tanzanian authorities. As a result, a list of suspects was drawn up from which several men were charged with complicity in the bombing.
The American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FGI) placed him on their search list as among the ten most wanted people.
As a retaliation the then president of US ordered cruise missile strikes on targets in Sudan and Afghanistan. The attacks were directed at an alleged chemical weapons producing plant in Sudan with 13 cruise missile which resulted in the death of the night watchmen. The Afghanistan attack came in the form of over 70 cruise missile at three separate terrorist camps. This attack killed an estimated 24 people but failed to get Osama Bin Laden.
However, the US government commission appointed to look into the bombings criticised "the collective failure of the US government over the past decade" to prepare for terrorist attacks and to adequately fund security improvements at American embassies. "Responsibility for this failure can be attributed to several administrations and their agencies, including the Department of State, National Security Council, and Office of Management and Budget, as well as the U.S. Congress," said the report of the panel, chaired by retired Adm. William J. Crowe, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The commission said that the US relies much on intelligence report and tends to relax once there is no warnings coming from these reports. Two months later, the hunt for bin Laden increased as he was indicted of murder and conspiracy. The US pursued bin Laden on several tracks, using military strikes and secret diplomacy and even the most extensive overseas law enforcement investigation in the history of America.
Statements issued by the al-Qaeda chieftain before his first attack on African were then made public. He had stated: "Despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, in excess of 1 million . . . despite all this, the Americans are once again trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the furious war or the fragmentation and devastation. ... If the Americans' aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews' petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there."
Since the days of the Kenyan and Tanzanian bombings, no terrorist attacks of such magnitude has been witnessed on the contintent of Africa. Thus, it could be said that the US wants to take precautionary measures instead after an attack. Hence they decided to beef up security at the embassies in Nigeria since the terror mastermind himself has expressed interest in the country.
September 11 Attack
The September 11, 2001 attacks were a series of coordinated terrorist attacks carried out in the US on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Reports said that nineteen men affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial airliners. They crashed one into each of the two tallest towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York City, the two towers collapsed. Due to passenger resistance,the third aircraft crashed into the Pentagon, in Arlington County, Virginia, just outside the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.. The fourth plane crashed into a rural field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The attacks were the most goory ever carried out in the US. The death toll was2,986 . The September 11th attacks are regarded as the most significant events to have occurred so far in the 21st Century in terms of the profound economic, social, cultural, and military effects that followed in the United States and many parts of the world. As a result of the attack, the US invaded Afghanistan and chased out the Taliban led government but missed catching their main target, bin Laden. As a result of the attack, the hunt for terrorists intensified throuhgout the world.
Shirts and posters bearing the name of Osama bin Laden has been seen in some Nigerian streets, mostly in the north. Some youth have tended to identify with the terror mastermind though stupefied when confronted with an explanation of how the terrorists blow themselves up with explosives.
Some babies have also been known to have been named after the Saudi born fugitive.
A nurse at one hospital in a Northern city was reported as saying that "this is a season of Bin Laden babies where fathers who regard him as hero name their children after him for his bravery and undauntedness."
Similarly it was reported that a nursing mother in Calabar, Cross River State fled home in protest against the naming of her newly born baby after Osama bin Laden by her husband. The woman, a Christian, was said to have decided to divorce the Muslim husband for naming her child after "the most wanted man in the world." But the husband had insisted that his son's name is Osama bin Laden.
How Has US, Nigeria Relations Fared
Due to the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election and the human rights abuses, followed it and the failure to embark on a meaningful democratic transition, the US imposed sanctions on Nigeria. These included the imposition of the country's Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to refuse entry into the US of senior officials of the military government and others who formulated, implemented, or benefited from policies impeding Nigeria's transition to democracy, suspension of all military assistance, and a ban on the sale and repair of military goods and refinery services to Nigeria. The US Ambassador was recalled for consultations for four months after the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa and his colleagues popularly known as the Ogoni Nine on November 10, 1995.
After a period of increasingly strained relations, the sudden death of General Sani Abacha on June 1998 and his replacement by General Abubakar opened a new chapter of improved relations. As democracy progressed, the lifting of visa restrictions, increased the level of visits by US officials, discussions of future assistance, and the granting of a Vital National Interest Certification on counter-narcotics, effective in March, 1999, paved the way for re-establishment of closer ties between the United States and Nigeria, as a key partner in the West African region and the continent. Since the inauguration of the democratically elected Obasanjo government, the bilateral relationship has been improving, with cooperation on many important foreign policy goals, such as regional peacekeeping.
The government has lent strong diplomatic support to the US Government counter-terrorism efforts in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Government of Nigeria, in its official statements, has condemned the terrorist attacks and supported military action against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Nigeria also has played a vital role in forming an anti-terrorism consensus among countries in Sub-
Effect of Embassy Closure on Nigerians
Evidently, no other embassy in Nigeria attracts the number of visa seekers like the US embassy and the second is the British embassy.
In addition embassies along the Walter Carrington that closed with the US like German embassy, Italian embassy and the Indian embassy will deal a big blow to Nigerian travelers. Its effect will become more pronounced because the warning was impromptu.
At the embassy Friday, many were already lamenting the disruption in the activities while some disputed the possibility of a terrorist attack on Nigeria. A man who wishes to remain anomymous reasons that the whole issue about embassy closure was a means deviced by the country to justify its report on Nigeria.
Some people who were given appointment on the internet lamented that they have to go back and fill th forms again for another appointment whereas those who came for renewal complained loss of time. Many students expressed fear that they might lose the academic session resumption if the the embassies fail to resume early next week.
After Embassy Closure, What Next?
US had earlier indicated its interest in counter terrorism actions in West African sub-region and from the present situation the country's troops are really coming. It had funnelled more money and troops into north and northwest Africa to train and equip armies to combat the growing threat from local terror and insurgent and Nigeria will certainly be a major focus.
Presently, US troops from the European Command which overseas US military interests in Europe and most of Africa kicked off a two-week counterterrorism training exercise called Flintlock involving forces from Algeria, Chad, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, Tunisia and Morocco.
Since it was confirmed that the present warning came from outside, every effort will now be intensified to make sure that the terrorist groups will not establish sanctuaries in the country.
Actually, US military involvement in Nigeria and other African countries will soon be the largest it has been in decades, at least financially.
This initiative has already been christened Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative and it is to be funded with $100 million a year for five years.
West Africa Conflict, Peace and Security Religion International Terrorism United States, Canada and Africa Nigeria