Controversy Over Move By US To Label Boko Haram Terrorist Group

AS Boko Haram continues to launch terrorist attacks in the country, a deliberate lobby is going on in the US to frustrate American government’s attempt to label the sect a terrorist group. Consequently, the Federal Government may be hiring an American lobbying firm to scuttle the lobby and represent Nigeria’s interest in the matter. Informed sources, during the week, told The Guardian that soon after November last year’s hearing by the US House of Representatives on the global threat of Boko Haram, the US State Department came under pressure from lawmakers to impose the label of a terrorist group on the militant Islamic group. But at about the same time, some influential groups of intellectuals, and policy think tanks in the US are canvassing publicly and within the US government circles to oppose the plans to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization.

If the US government goes ahead to designate Boko Haram a terrorist group, the move will activate the use of US government resources to confront the group, identify its financing, and cut it off as much as possible, while also legally enabling the government to adopt other measures to stigmatise and isolate the terrorist group. While the Nigerian government’s views are not being sought openly by the US on the matter, a Nigerian Minister was so concerned during a recent visit to the US capital about what the minister described as a “concerted effort” against Nigeria by the intellectuals and some policy think-tanks trying to downplay the Boko Haram threat in the US and lobby against the designation of the sect as terrorist.

In order to counter the lobby, the Federal Government is now considering hiring a US lobbying firm to scuttle the lobby, since the pro-Boko Haram arrowheads are cautioning the US government not to make the Islamic group an enemy of the Americans, in direct opposition to the recommendations of the US House of Representatives, which authored an authoritative report on the real threat posed by Boko Haram, even to the US.


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