Buhari stated this in an interview aired on Channels Television on Wednesday night which was monitored by SaharaReporters.
President Muhammadu Buhari has said the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, should defend himself in court for peddling false information about his regime while he (Kanu) was overseas. Buhari stated this in an interview aired on Channels Television on Wednesday night which was monitored by SaharaReporters.
There have been pressures on Buhari to release Kanu including a recent visit by some Igbo elders led by Minister of Aviation in the First Republic, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi.
During the visit on November 19, 2021, Buhari had told them he would not want to interfere in the running of the judiciary but said he would consider their demand though “a heavy one.”
But speaking on Wednesday night during the television interview, the President said, “There is one institution that I wouldn’t interfere with, that is judiciary, Kanu’s case is with the judiciary but what I wonder is when Kanu was safely in Europe, abusing this administration and mentioning too many things, I thought he wants to come and defend himself on the accusations.
“So, we are giving him an opportunity to defend himself in our system, not to be abusing us from Europe as if he was not a Nigerian. Let him come here with us and then criticise us here. Nigerians know that I don’t interfere with the judiciary, let him be listened to. But those who are saying that he should be released, no, we cannot release him.”
When asked about the possibility for political solution, Buhari said, “There is a possibility of political solution. If people behave themselves, all well and good but you can’t go to a foreign country and keep on sending incorrect economic and security problems against our country and thinking that you would not account for what you have been doing. Let him account for what he has been doing.”
Kanu, 54 from Abia State was first arrested in 2017 for demanding the secession of the South-East zone from Nigeria. After about three years abroad, Malami at a press briefing in Abuja on June 29, 2021, announced that the IPOB leader was re-arrested in a foreign country and extradited to Nigeria though Kanu’s lawyers said he was re-arrested in Kenya and whisked to Nigeria. Upon his re-arrest in June 2021, Kanu was re-arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako for terrorism-related charges brought against him by the AGF office. Kanu has since been remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services in Abuja while his trial is to continue on January 18, 2022.
The former Osun State governor and the pioneer Interim National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Chief Bisi Akande, has given an insight into the severe pressure mounted on the party by influential persons to make sure Muhammadu Buhari, now the President, did not emerge as the party’s candidate for the 2015 election. In his 559-page autobiography, titled ‘My Participations’, launched in Lagos on Thursday, Akande said persons like former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some unnamed elite, especially from the North, including royal fathers, were against Buhari becoming the party’s candidate.
The former Osun State governor explained that an aristocratic leader from the North came to Osogbo, the state capital, to persuade the then governor, Rauf Aregbesola, to prevail on them to drop Buhari.
He, however, said the leaders of the newly formed party decided to go ahead with Buhari, given his charisma and the support he had garnered in his previous attempts, having contested the coveted position three times earlier. He said the emergence of the APC created a formidable structure for him and that Buhari’s candidacy was in fact one of the bases for the merger of the constituent political parties.
Regardless of this, he noted that the party allowed anybody interested in the ticket to contest against Buhari at the convention, where he eventually won.
On Obasanjo’s opposition to Buhari’s candidacy, he wrote, “When the party was ready and we were going around to all the leaders, someone reminded us that we had not seen Obasanjo and (former Head of State, Ibrahim) Babangida, and asked them to join us.
Nigeria News: Assistant CP detains medical doctor for packing ‘cheap’ vehicle near his N3m car “We also met Obasanjo and asked him to join us. He said he would not join us but that he had his sympathy for us. He said he had decided not to join any political party since he left the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party).
“Behind the scene, however, I understood he was pressurising some of our leaders not to use Buhari as our candidate. It got to a point when Bola Tinubu had to confront him thus: ‘It is not fair sending me to Buhari. Buhari was a soldier and he was one of your junior officers in the army. Why don’t you call Buhari and let him know how you feel about his intention to be President?’
“I don’t know whether Obasanjo stopped at it. From the start, he did not want Buhari to be President.”
Also, on the opposition by the other elite, Akande wrote, “It was apparent from the start that Buhari would be our choice for President. That was one of the bases for the merger.
“However, there were pressures from the elite, especially from the North, including royal fathers, piling pressure on us not to allow Buhari to be our presidential candidate.
“A prominent aristocratic leader from the North stayed several nights in Osogbo, persuading Governor Aregbesola to prevail on us not to field Buhari. He threatened that if we did, there would be trouble in the North. We reviewed all these threats and decided to go through it with Buhari.”
He is facing charges bordering on treasonable felony instituted against him at the court in response to years of campaign for the independent Republic of Biafra through IPOB.
Traditional and religious leaders in the South-East have called for the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The leaders, under the auspices of the South East Council of Traditional Rulers and the Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops, said the release of the IPOB leader would de-escalate the rising tension in the zone.
The Muhammadu Buhari-led government had in June announced Kanu’s arrest and extradition from Kenya to continue to face trial in Nigeria.
He is facing charges bordering on treasonable felony instituted against him at the court in response to years of campaign for the independent Republic of Biafra through IPOB.
In a joint statement signed by the chairmen of the traditional rulers’ council in all the South Eastern States and Christian leaders, they urged the Nigerian government to take immediate steps to de-proscribe IPOB and release all its members being held in various detention facilities.
They also called on IPOB to cancel all scheduled sit-at-home orders and shun any action that would disrupt the November 6 Governorship Election in Anambra State.
“Flowing from similar initiatives taken to bring peace to other troubled parts of the country, we urge the Federal Government and other stakeholders to explore dialogue and negotiation in resolving critical issues that threaten national unity, cohesion, and development.
“We are of the firm belief that this act of courage and statesmanship is not only imperative but will speedily de-escalate the heightened state of insecurity and dislocation in the South East Zone.
“We call on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to demilitarize the South East Zone, more so as it has become apparent that a continued military siege on the region can only lead to heightened tension, skirmishes and endless bloodletting between the security agencies and our youths,” the statement said.
They also urged the youth to de-escalate the tension and remain law-abiding to enable their leaders to engage the federal government in finding a lasting solution to the crises.
The statement was signed by Igwe Charles Mkpuma (Ebonyi); Eze Joseph N. Nwabeke (Abia); Obi Nnaemeka Achebe (Anambra); Igwe Amb L. O. C. Agubuzu (Enugu) and Eze Dr. E. C. Okeke (Imo).
Others are Dr Anthony J. V. Obinna (Catholic Archbishop of Owerri); Dr Emmanuel O. Chukwuma, (Anglican Archbishop of Enugu); Dr Chibuzo R. Opoko (Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia); Dr Valerian M. Okeke (Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha); Dr Uma A. Onwunta (Past Principal Clerk Presbyterian Church Nigeria); Bishop Obi Onubogu (Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria) and Dr Abraham Nwali (Chairman, CAN, South East Zone). (Sahara Reporters)
He wrote on Facebook: “Declaring Bandits as Terrorists: will come with a prize!
Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi says if the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari declares bandits as terrorists, it will mark the end of Nigeria as a sovereign and united entity.
Gumi, despite his pro-bandit advocacy, admitted that the bandits have over the years unleashed terror on the people, but officially labelling them as such will invite additional consequences that will consume the entire country.
According to him, once bandits are designated as terrorists, the direct foreign Jihadist movements will come into force and give “criminality a spiritual cover and remove the stigma of discrediting them with such crimes since now they are fighting a ‘Jihad’ as they will claim. In such a situation, does the larger society -as it is- have the moral high ground to fight back?”
He further justified his claims by stating that with Boko Haram terrorists having taken control over the North-East, separatist agitators in the South-East and South-West, bandits will easily capitalise on the lawlessness sweeping the northern regions.
He wrote on Facebook: “Declaring Bandits as Terrorists: will come with a prize!
“Nobody doubts that sentimentalism today overrides sensibility in our polity. For the sake of posterity, some people will have to speak out.
“The acts the Bandits are committing now in NW have gradually over time become tantamount to terrorism because wherever innocent people are fatal victims it’s pure terrorism. Yet, innocence these days is relative.
“We agreed if their children and women are also killed, they are guilty by association or collateral damage, so also the bandits may think the same way. It’s right for vigilantes to lynch Fulani herdsmen or anyone that looks like them by profiling but wrong for the herdsmen to ransack villages in retribution. They are pushed to believe it is an existential war and in war, ethics are thrown to the winds.
“Yet again, the only helpful part that is against Bandits is that no other than them (sic) are attracted to join them in the NW because of its ethnic tinge and colouration. However, the moment they are termed Terrorist – Islamic for that matter, the direct foreign Jihadist movements will set in in force.
“And many teaming unemployed youths may find it palatable and attractive. Shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ plus AK47 against a ‘secular’ immoral society where impunity reigns are the magnet for extremists and downtrodden – the majority of our youth.
“Already these deadly terrorist groups are fighting for the soul of these bandits. This will give criminality a spiritual cover and remove the stigma of discrediting them with such crimes since now they are fighting a ‘Jihad’ as they will claim.
“In such a situation, does the larger society -as it is- has (sic) the moral high ground to fight back? This is the most probable consequence, the price of which is not worth it. Nothing stops the kinetic actions from going on without the controversy of semantics.
“NE is already and is still devastated by this madness for over 12 years. If we allow terror to set in into these raw naïve unexposed bandits, NW will be in ruins sooner than later. Already IPOB is destroying SE, and Igboho has set the ball of confusion rolling in SW. For those who want to destroy the NW, it’s a good recipe. Turn bandits into religious zealots. Tell me, what then remains of Nigeria?
“I have started to get these raw bandits out of their misadventure but unfortunately, I have few helpers and a mountain of antagonists. The psychology in fighting natives is to induce a motive for their struggle if they don’t have one already, a motive that is manageable, and it is so managed. Unfortunately, reactions to threats in our nation are always slow and incoherent.
“I hope another Igbo clergy goes into the IPOB militants likewise and talk sense into them, and another Pastor of Oduduwa land talks against the Igboho secessionist tribal movement by way of sensitizing people to the values of a cohesive nationalism that will guaranty freedom, equality, and justice for all. Religious forces can permeate hardened hearts where secular forces cannot.
“Regrettably, people just sit down in the comfort of their rooms or parlours and make useless passing comments that only add fuel to the inferno of ethnic jingoism and bigotry. In the 21st century, Nigeria is hijacked by semi-illiterates and half-baked tribal heroes that have nothing to offer besides promoting tribal xenophobia.
“Nigeria has over 250 ethnic groupings, it’s not possible to divide such a nation into tribal enclaves. Nigeria is multi-religious, even with one same religion or sect there is no harmony and understanding that can build a prosperous unified nation where tranquillity and development will flourish. We are tired of these bogus destructive fruitless slogans!
“Nigerians are in a daydream so long they act by Nerval impulses not by the dictates of their cerebral cortex. May Allah protect us all. Amin.” (Sahara Reporters)
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, the State House has announced.
A statement on Sunday issued by Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), Femi Adesina, said the president gave the order in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum.
“This is in consonance with Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the Minister of Finance on the nominal shares of the Company,” the statement said.
The statement said the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kolo Kyari, had been directed to take necessary steps to ensure that the incorporation of the NNPC Limited is consistent with the provisions of the PIA 2021.
President Buhari has also approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited, with effect from the date of incorporation of the company.
The President named Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as Chairman of the Board while Mele Kolo Kyari and Umar I. Ajiya were appointed as Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Financial Officer, respectively.
Other Board Members are; Dr Tajudeen Umar (North East), Mrs Lami O. Ahmed (North Central), Mallam Mohammed Lawal (North West), Senator Margaret Chuba Okadigbo (South East), Barrister Constance Harry Marshal (South South), and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South West).
The Scholar Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, on Friday, has called President Muhammadu Buhari to create a federal ministry of Fulani herdsmen to address the grievances of bandits and killer herders terrorising the country.
Mr Gumi, a self-appointed intermediary in the ongoing crises of banditry and killer herdsmen, said in a Facebook post on Friday that bandits should be rehabilitated like Niger Delta militants, adding that declaring war against bandits would be futile.
“Some said we have tried amnesty but it didn’t work. You didn’t try amnesty but tried amnesia. Amnesty without rehabilitation, reconciliation, and reparation is no amnesty,” Mr Gumi said.
“Ask the former Niger Delta Militants who killed security men in the past what an amnesty is. What stops us from having a federal ministry of Nomadic Affairs where their grievances and complaints will be addressed?”
President Umar Yar’Adua implemented an amnesty policy that saw the rehabilitation of thousands of Niger Delta militants who had waged a decade-long war on oil facilities across the region.
The militants lamented economic deprivation and environmental degradation that assailed the oil-rich region, drawing both sympathy and condemnation from different segments of the society.
The militants accepted political and economic solutions, including the creation of a Niger Delta ministry, proposed by the Yar’Adua administration and relinquished their arms and ammunition, marking an end of hostilities that saw the destruction of oil installations and deadly attacks on local and expatriate oil workers.
Mr Gumi’s statement came days after Katsina Governor Aminu Masari openly admitted that Fulanis are the bandits and herders responsible for the widespread killing and abduction across the country.
Mr Gumi said his efforts to get amnesty for bandits and killer herdsmen have been sabotaged by President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to deploy troops against violent criminals.
“Some disingenuous people say: peace and negotiations with herdsmen bandits have failed, and your mission has failed! I said my mission has not failed but it was sabotaged or discouraged by the same influential people that benefit from the chaos or like us to destroy ourselves and leave the herdsmen in perpetual ignorance,” Mr Gumi said.
In the Facebook post, Mr Gumi also slammed presidential spokesman Femi Adesina for mocking him as a bandit lover for his open support alliance with the bandits, who have been responsible for widespread killing, destruction and mass abduction of citizens, including schoolchildren.
“You bootlicker that called me a bandit-lover! I am not one, but my country-lover, my region-lover, my state-lover, and my people-lover, and humanity-lover,” Mr Gumi said to Mr Adesina without naming him.
It was unclear whether or not Mr Buhari was weighing amnesty for bandits as a sustainable solution to the acute insecurity that threatens to define his legacy.
Mr Buhari noted that “IPOB are not struggling for freedom when they attack police stations and property, but rather committing acts of terrorism” to steal money.
President Muhammadu Buhari has slammed the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) for unleashing terror on the South-East and parts of the South-South, describing them as thieves and terrorists.
The president said this in a statement by his media aide Garba Shehu on Sunday.
Mr Buhari, however, maintained that to achieve success, communities must unite against these horrific attacks, saying retributive violence was not the answer.
He challenged religious, traditional, and community leaders on the need to preach peace and preventing violence.
”Attempts to simplify the reasons into a basic narrative may help raise donor-dollars for international NGOs, fill pages of overseas newspapers and burnish foreign politicians’ faith credentials,” argued Mr Buhari. “But this does not increase understanding, nor offer solutions. If anything, simplistic theorising and finger-pointing make the situation worse.”
He pointed out that “it is important both for Nigerians and the international community to appreciate that there are” a multitude of factors responsible for the worsening insecurity in Nigeria.
Mr Buhari further explained that “there are no religious connotations at all when the primary purpose of these acts is to extract money.”
The president insisted that the “herder-farmer” violent conflict was a matter of “water and land,” not religion.
“Then the herder-farmer clashes. While international voices and some Nigerian politicians who seek personal gains from division declare this a matter of religion, for those involved, it is almost entirely a matter of access to water and land,” he stated. “Herders have moved their cattle into contact with farmers for millennia. But increasingly, due to population pressure, escalating aridity of northern states, and climate change, they are forced to travel further south to find grazing lands.”
On the activities of IPOB, Mr Buhari noted that “further afield in the South-East, IPOB are not struggling for freedom when they attack police stations and property, but rather committing acts of terrorism” to steal money.
“IPOB is not defending Christians, as their highly paid foreign lobbyists claim,” Mr Buhari pointed out, “when almost every citizen of those states they terrorize is uniformly Christian.”
A few months ago, Mr Buhari’s regime repatriated IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu from Kenya, and now facing various criminal charges in court. He is in detention. Mr Kanu and IPOB are seeking the secession of the South-East from Nigeria.
However, Mr Buhari has urged Nigerians to be united against “those who seek to divide us for their own nefarious financial and political gain.” (NAN)
■ Mr Soyinka said the international community “has a right and responsibility to declare sections of the country as protectorate under the UN.”
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has called on the United Nations to step in and take control of parts of the country as the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to fulfill its responsibilities under international laws.
Mr Soyinka said the international community “has a right and responsibility to declare sections of the country as protectorate under the UN,” asking that the international body pull a “Namibia” and protect certain regions of the country.
“We are calling on the United Nations to intervene and stop this slave trade,” Mr Soyinka declared at an event in Lagos on Friday.
He explained that when protocols and conditions given by the UN and signed by a said nation are violated, such nation has failed to live up to its responsibilities.
“…the protocols are there for any nation to champion the cause of these children and thereby enforce on this government international intervention in whatever form,” Mr Soyinka said.
Mr Soyinka’s comments refer to school kidnappings, such as the Bethel Baptist School, Kaduna where 32 students were released from their captors on Friday. Mr Soyinka described the kidnapping and targeting of school children as slavery, which he stated is more lucrative within the country than exporting people.
Mr Soyinka said he’d been in talks with governments and foreign heads of states, appealing that they elevate the targeting of children and the “forced repatriation to the attention of the United Nations in the next General Assembly.”
The kidnappings, rife in the northern region of the country, and the failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to control and eliminate the threat are direct violations of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Across Nigeria, several attacks have been orchestrated by Fulani herdsmen and bandits as the reign of terror continues to spread from the North, these attacks have led to the loss of lives and damage to property.
Investigations revealed that the Nigerian Government, in a secret program, rehabilitate surrendered insurgents and attempt to integrate them into society, this is being done with no formal pardons.
Mr Buhari has often defended the actions of these insurgents. In July, Mr Buhari commended security agencies for raiding Sunday Igboho’s house, saying Mr Igboho has been disturbing the peace with his campaign against the herdsmen.
Peoples Gazette earlier reported how the presidency kicked against the ultimatum given by the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, to vacate the forest reserves.
The state government had hinged the decision on the criminal acts linked to the herders operating from the forests. But Mr Buhari argued that the murderous herders had rights to inhabit any portion of the Nigerian territory. (People’s Gazette)
The caretaker chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Yola South local government of Adamawa State, Sulaiman Adamu, has taken a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that if wishes were horses, he would have wished coronavirus kill the president.
Mr Adamu, who made the spiteful remark, said if he was asked to choose between Mr Buhari and his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, he would pick the latter with dispatch.
The APC chairman, according to sources made the statement during a meeting of some high profile stakeholders of the party, including the immediate past Governor of Adamawa State, Muhammadu Bindow and the immediate past Speaker of Adamawa State house of assembly, who is the incumbent member representing Yola south constituency in the state house of assembly, Kabiru Mijinyawa.
Other APC stalwarts present at the meeting are Yusha’u Adamu who served Mr Bindow as adviser and Abubakar Sirimbai, who was a former development area chairman.
Sources privy to the development said the meeting took place on Sunday August 8, 2021 at the residence of the former commissioner of local government and chieftaincy affairs, under the Bindow administration, Mustapha Barkindo-Mustapha, between 3:00pm to 5:00pm.
In a leaked audio clip obtained by DAILY NIGERIAN, the APC chieftains were heard making spiteful and denigrating remarks against the person of President Muhammadu Buhari without let or hindrance.
“I don’t know why coronavirus did not kill Buhari. If the president is placed side by side with Osinbajo, I will pick Osinbajo and leave Buhari,” the chairman was heard lamenting in Fulfulde.
Also lambasting the president, Abubakar Sirimbai in another sneering vituperation, said, it is better for the “accursed president” to die so that Mr Osinbajo could take over the reigns of power.
“It is better for the accursed president to die so that his deputy can assume the reins of power. We sold our properties to help the president win the election. We bought under wears, braziers, and cosmetic which we used to give him a make up. If I’m averse to Osinbajo becoming the president, may God not give me the privilege of living till evening.
“Buhari has achieved nothing in Adamawa in the last six years. APC in Adamawa thrives on the legacies of Bindow. We heard that Buhari used to be extremely happy whenever he learnt someone has gone bankrupt. We can’t be worshipping him like others,” Mr Sirimbai said. (Daily Nigerian)
■ Halts planned sale of 12 attack aircraft, 28 helicopter engines worth $875m
By Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja with agency reports
United States lawmakers have begun to mount pressure on President Joe Biden over concerns about Nigeria’s human rights records.
Already, a proposed sale of 12 attack aircrafts and 28 helicopter engines worth $857 million has been put on hold.
Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have delayed clearing a proposed sale of 12 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters and accompanying defence systems to the Nigerian military, pausing a deal worth some $875 million, according to U.S. officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter.
In addition to the helicopters, the proposed sale included 28 helicopter engines produced by GE Aviation, 14 military-grade aircraft navigation systems made by Honeywell, and 2,000 advanced precision kill weapon systems—laser-guided rocket munitions, according to information sent by the State Department to Congress and reviewed by Foreign Policy, a US-based magazine.
It said the behind-the-scenes controversy over the proposed arms sale illustrated a broader debate among Washington policymakers over how to balance national security with human rights objectives.
It said the hold on the sale also showcased how powerfully the US lawmakers wanted to push the Biden administration to rethink the country’s relations with Africa’s most populous nation amid overarching concerns that Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was drifting towards authoritarianism as his government has been besieged by multiple security challenges, including a jihadist insurgency.
Foreign policy observed that Western governments and international human rights organisations had ramped up their criticisms of the Nigerian government, particularly, in the wake of its ban on Twitter, systemic corruption issues, and the Nigerian military’s role in deadly crackdowns on protesters after widespread demonstrations against police brutality last year.
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Menendez, called for a “fundamental rethink of the framework of our overall engagement” with Nigeria during a Senate hearing with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in June.
Both Menendez and Senator Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have therefore placed a hold on the proposed arms sale, according to multiple U.S. officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter, who spoke to Foreign Policy on the condition of anonymity.
The details on the proposed sale were first sent by the US State Department to Congress in January before then former US Vice President Joe Biden was inaugurated as president, according to officials familiar with the matter.
Nigeria has relied on US arms sales in the past to help address multiple security challenges, including the 12-year insurgency by Boko Haram militants in the country’s northeast, a spate of high-profile kidnapping-for-ransom campaigns targeting schoolchildren in the country’s North-west, and deadly clashes between the country’s semi-nomadic herders and farmers fueled by climate change and environmental degradation of the country’s arable land.
The State Department, it was said, described the US-Nigeria relationship as “among the most important in sub-Saharan Africa” and had provided limited funding for various military training and education programmes.
Some experts said the United States should hit the pause button on major defence sales until it could make a broader assessment of the extent to which corruption and mismanagement hobble the Nigerian military and whether the military was doing enough to minimise civilian casualties in its campaign against Boko Haram and other violent insurrectionists.
“There doesn’t have to be a reason why we don’t provide weapons or equipment to the Nigerian military,” said Judd Devermont, Director of the Africa programme at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank.
Continuing, he added, “But it has to be done with an assessment of how it will actually, one, change the direction of conflict in Nigeria, and, two, that they will use it consistent with our laws. In both cases, it’s either a question mark or a fail. There is a culture of impunity that exists around abuses by the military,” said Anietie Ewang, the Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Ewang cited the Nigerian military’s killing of unarmed protesters during the country’s massive #EndSARS demonstrations against police corruption and brutality last year as well as cases documented by human rights organisations of abuses in the military’s campaign against Boko Haram.
“I’m sure it’s a difficult situation. There are so many conflicts springing up across the country now. The authorities, I presume, are trying to do the best they can to save lives and properties. But this must be done in accordance with human rights standards. You can’t throw one out just to be able to achieve the other.”
Nigerian Embassy in Washington did not, however, return a request for comment, foreign policy claimed.
In the past, the Nigerian military had dismissed reports of human rights abuses by its soldiers as baseless and accused human rights groups of undermining the military’s resolve to combat terrorism.
But the United States had scrubbed proposed arms sales to Nigeria in the past on a case-by-case basis.
Former US President Barack Obama’s administration cut back arms sales to Nigeria over concerns about civilian casualties and human rights abuses, including blocking a 2014 sale of Cobra helicopters by Israel to Nigeria.
During that time, US officials reportedly voiced concerns that Boko Haram had infiltrated the Nigerian military—an accusation that provoked indignation from the Nigerian government.
These moves severely strained US-Nigeria relations, with Buhari accusing Obama of having unintentionally “aided and abetted” extremist groups by refusing to expand military cooperation and arms sales.
In late 2017, then US President Donald Trump’s administration agreed to sell the Nigerian government 12 A-29 Super Tucano warplanes, resurrecting a proposed sale the Obama administration froze after the Nigerian Air Force bombed a refugee camp that January.
The first batch of those planes arrived in Nigeria earlier this month.
A U.S. State Department spokesperson declined to comment on the matter, saying: “as a matter of policy, the department does not confirm or comment upon proposed defence sales or transfers until they have been formally notified to Congress.”
Under the current practice, the State Department informally notifies Congress through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) of proposed arms sales in advance of a formal notification.
If committee members raise concerns about the proposed sale, the committees can freeze the sale until they receive satisfactory answers about their concerns from the State Department.
Once a proposed arms sale has been formally notified to Congress, Congress has a 30-day window to review the sale and, if it opposed the sale, it would pass a legislation to block it.
But if Congress took no action, the sale would move forward.
A top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul, has signed off on the proposed sale of Cobra helicopters to Nigeria, a spokesperson for his office confirmed.
The office of the HFAC chairperson, Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The Trump administration, frustrated with how Congress held up proposed arms sales for months, weighed scrubbing the decades-old practice of informally notifying Congress about arms sales, but it faced steep backlash over the idea from lawmakers.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is now looking to further extend congressional oversight over US arms sales to foreign countries.
Senatord Chris Murphy, a Democrat, Mike Lee, a Republican, and Bernie Sanders, an Independent, introduced legislation earlier this month aimed at reasserting Congress’s role in foreign policy.
The bill included a provision that would require Congress to actively approve all major sales rather than allow arms sales to be automatically approved unless Congress blocked them.