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Nigeria's Boko Haram now political issue

Aug. 9, 2012 at 9:23 AM   |   Comments

LAGOS, Nigeria, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Nigeria's ACN wants President Goodluck Jonathan to convene a national conference on security.

The Action Congress of Nigeria said it is concerned about the rising level of violence in the country, which is destabilizing the country as a whole, specifically the rising violence of the militant Islamic sect Boko Haram.

ACN National Publicity Secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed on Wednesday released a statement in Ibadan stating that Jonathan's government must acknowledge that it obviously isn't winning the national war against terrorism and must adopt a new strategy, PM News reported.

Mohammed's pronouncement is in accordance with a new platform being planned by ACN party and other opposition groups, which say will sweep the ruling People's Democratic Party out of office in 2015.

"We should ask ourselves: has Mr. President actually been able to respond to the yearnings of Nigerians in the performance of his duties?" Mohammed said during an interview. "Has he been able to keep his electoral promises? ...

"The entire presidency is also enmeshed in scandal and incompetence."

Acknowledging the increased level of terrorist sectarian violence in Nigeria, on June 21 the U.S. State Department, under Executive Order 13224, designated Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau along with high-level Boko Haram members Abubakar Adam Kambar and Khalid al-Barnawi terrorists.

The Executive Order "blocks all of Shekau's, Kambar's and al-Barnawi's property interests subject to U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with or for the benefit of these individuals."

The State Department has yet to declare Boko Haram a "Foreign Terrorist Organization."

Some intelligence officials in the U.S. government have argued that Boko Haram should be labeled a FTO following its Aug. 26, 2011, bombing of the U.N. building in the capital Abuja that 23 people and injured scores of others.

Last month U.S. Africa Command commander Gen. Carter Ham warned that three of Africa's largest militant Islamic groups were trying to coordinate their activities.

The AFRICOM commander stated that North African al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, Nigeria's Boko Haram and Somalia's al-Shabab were Africa's "most dangerous" groups, adding that AQIM was probably sharing explosives and funds with Boko Haram.

Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensounda has also spoken out against the radical fundamentalist sect, stating that the ICC was monitoring the Boko Haram insurgency and the effort by Jonathan's administration to tackle the issue.

Mohammed says the failure of the government to quell the Boko Haram insurgency as providing a political opportunity.

"Nigerians today are not safe in their homes, offices, roads or places of worship," he said. "Terrorists, kidnappers armed robbers and arsonists have taken complete control of the country and all the government can offer are platitudes."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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