By Dapo Akinrefon
A United States-based group, Global Advocates For Terrorism Eradication, GATE, on Friday, petitioned the office of the United States Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinke, demanding that the United States Government should designate some Nigerian Government officials as sponsors of terrorism, alleging that “from all available indices, what is happening in Nigeria is State-sponsored Terrorism”.
GATE said its core objectives are to stop the provision of material support, funding and prosecutorial protection of terrorists by state actors.
In a statement by its Principal Advocate, Robert Berry, the 26-page petition alleged that the Nigerian government was allegedly sponsoring terrorism by carrying out terrorist activities including training, fundraising, financing, and recruitment of terrorists and terrorist activities.
The organization said that “the Nigerian Government officials have deployed the instrumentality of power and are using the veil of sovereignty in knowingly consenting and with malicious intent allowing and promoting the use of Nigeria as a breeding ground and recruitment nursery for international terrorism activities contrary to foreign relations authorizations act fiscal years 1988 and 1989 (P.L.100 to 204:22 U.S.C 2656f), as amended.”
The letter chronicles numerous terrorist activities that establish the culpability of the Nigerian govt and its officials. Some of those acts include providing funds to terrorists and terrorist organizations; providing material support including weapons and equipment to terrorists, actively and expressly encouraging and inciting terrorist activities.
Other allegations against the Nigerian Government are prosecutorial protection to terrorists by directly engaging in acts of terrorism and extrajudicial killings, using security agencies.
GATE, in the petition, accused the present administration of aiding terrorism in Nigeria.
The group stated that the US Government designating Nigerian officials as sponsors of terrorism will have far-reaching legal implications, including potentially arrest and criminal prosecution in a federal US court if they visit the country.
The petition reads in part: “The balance of terror of government’s false narrative has further exposed the complicity of the Nigerian Government in the anti-Christian butcheries and its monumental failure in discharging its constitutional duties of protecting and safeguarding the citizens irrespective of their religion, tribe or creed.
“The Government has not only failed to provide official credible data of the killings, maiming and Christian properties destroyed or burnt but also undermined, mangled and denied same when independently presented.
“The Government has also failed woefully in letting Nigerians and the International Community know, with verifiable statistics, the proportionality or dis-proportionality of such interfaith asymmetric killings, maiming and destroyed or burnt or lost properties.
“That is to say that there are no credible data from the present central Government of Nigeria or its security and law enforcement agencies including Nigeria Police Force and Defense or Army Headquarters, showing the percentage or number of attacks against defenceless Christian communities by the state-backed and protected Jihadist Herdsmen or reprisals by the victim Christian communities, if any.
“In other words, there are no credible Government’s records or from its security and law enforcement agencies showing the number of attacks against Christians since mid-2015 by Jihadist Herdsmen, number of Christians killed, a number of their lands seized and occupied by the Jihadists and number of Christians’ properties including dwelling houses, worship and learning centres destroyed or burnt or lost to Jihadist Herdsmen.
Government or security or law enforcement records are near totally absent, if not totally absent regarding the number of Jihadist Herdsmen arrested and investigated, convicted and jailed since mid-2015 for killing Christians or seizing or destroying their properties especially their sacred learning and worship centres. Independent records have continued to indicate that such perpetrators are often not arrested but shielded by the security forces.
“On the other hand, there are also no credible records from the same Government or its security and law enforcement agencies showing the number of attacks against Jihadist Herdsmen or Fulani citizens or settlements by the victim Christian groups or communities, number of Fulani citizens killed, number of their lands seized and occupied, number of Fulani properties including dwelling houses, Mosques and learning centres destroyed or burnt by same Christian avengers.
“On our part and independently speaking, the evidence on the ground grossly shows the contrary or contradicts all the Government claims. Apart from attacks on Christians in Nigeria being brutally asymmetric or ‘98%/2%’ ratio; or radical Islamists’ attacks or violence against Christians 98% and reprisals against such attacks or violence 2% or less; the Nigerian Government, adding to its monumental failure to protect Christians and fish out and punish their attackers, has also repeatedly repelled such reprisals if rarely risen or rarely about to occur.
Under the same Government, any reprisal killing of Herdsman is given the widest media attention locally and internationally; with the wheel of justice speeded up against the perpetrator(s). But when Christians are massacred, Government rolls out industrially its media censorship and inaction including aiding and abetting; for purpose of dwarfing or mangling the same.
“Both in principle and in practice, the present Government of Nigeria has provided and still provides maximum protection for Fulani settlements and their jihadist groups and turned and still turns blind eyes, including little or zero response, to an early warning or distress calls on the side of the persecuted Christians and their properties, especially when under attack or about to be attacked.
“Naturally, individual or group victim citizens’ reprisals become inevitable when governing or securing authorities woefully failed in their duties to protect them and go after their attackers; or whereby same governing or securing authorities take sides and shield the perpetrators and cover up their atrocities.
“In the case of persecuted Christians and their communities in Nigeria or any part thereof, they have remained substantially pacifist, nonviolent, peaceful and law-abiding; allowing themselves to be massacred at will; only for the same Government and its security and law enforcement agencies especially the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force to torment and punish them for being nonviolent.
“Even in the midst of vicious, systematic and coordinated attacks or violence against them by the Jihadist Herdsmen, the Government does little or nothing to protect and secure them other than to criminalize and collectively frame them up with all manners of false labelling and accusations.’’
Tackles FG on Igboho, Kanu
Besides, the group said: “The Department of State Services (DSS), which is the secret police of the Nigerian government, raided the house and killed two domestic staff of a Yoruba Nation activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho. The activist, Chief Igboho, was protesting the incessant killings by herdsmen in Yoruba land.
It also accused the Federal Government of “conspiring with Kenyan officials to carry out the kidnap, torture extraordinary rendition and continued detention of the leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB who has waged an effective resistance against jihadists.”
“The current Nigerian Government is executing a Global Jihadist agenda that is comparable, if not more insidious than that of the Taliban’s of Afghanistan. It is even more dangerous because it is mixed with genocidal tendencies. It is in the best interest of the United States and all the democratic countries of the world to identify this threat early and address it now. This is to prevent the further spread of the global jihadist agenda of the Buhari government and to arrest an imminent ethnic and religious genocide.”
“We, therefore, urge that the United States Secretary of State, designate the Nigerian Government and the listed State Actors as State sponsors of terrorism to kick start the statutory process and legal instruments of holding them accountable for their high crimes of sponsoring international terrorism.
You may kindly note that at the expiration of the two months’ notice, GATE, shall proceed with applying for a writ of mandamus to enjoin the United States Secretary of State to issue the designation”, it stated.
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