July 19, 2014
A senior official of the United States Department of State, Hon. Robert P. Jackson, on Thursday said the Nigerian government rejected requests by his home government to designate Boko Haram as a terror group.
Jackson, who is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, made the allegation while testifying at the hearing of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs in Washington D.C.
He said the Nigerian government rejected the move on the grounds that it would give prominence to Boko Haram and embolden it.
Some US Senators had blamed a former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, for failing to act decisively on the designation of the group.
Also at the hearing, the Principal Director for African Affairs, Department of Defence, Ms. Alice Friend, said the Nigerian military’s brutal tactics in fighting Boko Haram also contributed to escalating the insurgency.
She said the gross human rights violations were well documented, adding that these had denied Nigeria of vital military assistance from the US.
She also stated that Boko Haram’s tactics had been brutal and that the Nigerian military had been afraid to engage the terrorist group.
Friend said the Nigerian Armed Forces were significantly weakened by previous military administrations for fear of coups but stated that that was no longer the case, as there exists a robust relationship between the political leadership and the top echelon of the military.
The hearing, which began at 3p.m Nigerian time (10am EDT), was still on at the time of the filing of this breaking news.