Scholars In US Are Against Boko Haram Designation
Are Against Boko Haram Designation. Twenty four Scholars in United States have written a letter to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, urging her not to designate Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO).
In a three-page letter dated May 21, Thursday which was also copied Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, they claimed they were “scholars with a special interest in Nigeria and broad expertise on African politics.”
The 24 Scholars said accurate understanding and properly addressing the issue of Boko Haram would require a diplomatic, developmental, and demilitarised framework which must be led by the State Department and its civilian developmental partners.
They also said: “A lasting solution to Boko Haram menace would require robust political and developmental components initiated by the Nigerian government and broadly endorsed by the Nigerian people.”
Noting that though, they were acutely aware of the "horrific violence" perpetrated by the militant sect, they argued that, “an FTO Designation would internationalise Boko Haram, legitimise abuses by Nigeria’s security services, limit the State Department’s latitude in shaping a long term strategy, and undermine the US Government’s ability to receive effective independent analysis from the region.”
Buttressing their points, they said Boko Haram’s focus had been overwhelmingly domestic, despite last August attack on the United Nations office in Abuja, and that an FTO Designation would internationalise its standing and enhance its status among radical organisations elsewhere.
The Scholars also argued that there were clear indications that the militant sect's tactics and targets had turned most Nigerians Against it, including local populations in the North, adding that: "FTO Designation would potentially shift the organisation’s posture towards the US and validate the more radical factions’ analysis of outsider influence in Nigeria."
They further argued that an FTO Designation would give disproportionate attention to counter-terrorism in Nigeria, US bilateral relations, and "increase the risk that the US becomes linked – whether in reality or perception – to abuses by the security services."
In an indirect reference to the fact that the possibility of designating Boko Haram an FTO may be gaining ground within the US government, the Scholars said, "In publicizing this letter, it is also our hope that the Department of Defense and other concerned agencies will reaffirm the limitations of their roles: informing or implementing policy rather than making it."
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