By Faith McDonnell (@Cuchulain09)
On the day of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s long-anticipated and frequently-postponed Benghazi congressional testimony, Nigerian American attorney and human rights activist Emmanuel Ogebe speaks of State Department deception in Spero News. Ogebe, who is special counsel for Jubilee Campaign USA’s Justice for Jos Project, sees the events that took place in Benghazi as part of a pattern of deception that includes State Department relationships in Nigeria.
Speaking of the the murders of US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, along with Americans Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Dougherty, Ogebe says this is the latest example, not the first, “in a pattern of disregard for the safety of American diplomats.” Events in both 2011 and 2012 in Nigeria provide previous instances of this pattern of deception.
Ogebe first speaks of the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria on August 26, 2011. This jihadist attack by Boko Haram took place “literally two blocks from the U.S. Embassy,” reveals Ogebe. Over two dozen people from various countries were killed in the bombing. A US government official and an American working for the UN survived the attack. But “not a whimper emerged from the State Department on the Americans including one of their own, caught up in this bombing,” Ogebe says.
On January 20, 2012, Boko Haram went on a rampage against all security agencies in the northern Nigeria city of Kano. “Police headquarters, barracks, intelligence headquarters, police stations were amongst the numerous targets of simultaneous attacks that left over 200 people dead,” says Ogebe. In spite of this, Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson told an audience at the Center for Strategic International Studies that the US would soon open a consulate in Kano and “that the State Department had ‘pots of money’ ready to recruit Americans to go there,” revealed Ogebe.
Later in 2012, Asst. Secretary Carson testified on US Nigeria policy at a House Africa Subcommittee hearing. One purpose of the hearing was to question why the State Department does not designate Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Pressed by Subcommittee Chair U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Carson denied that any Iranian arms had come into Nigeria. “This was in spite of the fact that in the fall of 2010, in violation of UN sanctions requested by the United States, Iran had surreptitiously shipped 13 containers of weapons into Nigeria which the government confiscated and reported to the UN Security Council,” Ogebe revealed.
Ogebe warns that in spite of State Department denial and deception, based upon a belief that the Boko Haram jihadists are Nigeria’s disenfranchised, “a local expression of legitimate grievances,” the Nigerian jihadists are now collaborating with the Al Qaeda affiliates that have taken control in northern Mali. He reports that on January 19, last week, Boko Haram ambushed a convoy of Nigerian Army troops headed to northern Mali to combat the Islamist militants, killing two.
Fortunately, the US has not yet opened this promised consulate, or we may have had the tragedy of a dead American Ambassador in Kano before Libya’s Al Qaeda killed Ambassador Stevens. The State Department’s denial of the Islamist supremacism behind the terrorist activities of northern Nigerian jihadists Boko Haram is similar to its denial about the people who are running Libya, even after they killed a US Ambassador.