US Offers France $35 Million To Fight Boko Haram, Exclude Nigeria
President Barack Obama of the United State of America (USA) has approved the disbursement of $35 million in military and defence support services to France as part of Washington’s contribution to the war against the terror group, Boko Haram.
The White House said the aid is on account of the Paris active support for Nigeria’s French speaking neighbours—Niger and Chad—in their fight against Boko Haram insurgents as well as Mali, which is battling Islamic extremism.
The three French-speaking have been in the forefront of the war against Islamic terrorism.
No reference was made to Nigeria, which is the worst hit by Boko Haram’s terrorist assaults.
The outgoing Jonathan administration has not enjoyed the best of relations with President Obama over the Nigerian leader’s initial questionable response of the US to the Boko Haram menace.
Agency report yesterday said a US government official simply reaffirmed that the $35 million funding was in support of French operations, which are not taking place in Nigeria.
Some diplomats expect that once President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, assumes office on May 29, the White House will announce some new initiatives to support the overall fight against terror groups in Nigeria.
Recently at Time magazine’s 100 influential people gala in New York City, top US government officials, including Samantha Powers, promised that the US would do more to support the search for the Chibok girls and the fight against Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Titled “Delegation of Authority Under Section 506(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961,” the White House statement noted that President Obama had authorised Secretary of State John Kerry to facilitate the US assistance to Mali, Niger and Chad, significantly omitting Nigeria, where terror groups had captured significant territories and killed thousands of people in suicide attacks and military operations.
In the White House statement, President Obama delegated to the Secretary of State “the authority under section 506(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to direct the drawdown of up to $35 million in defense services of the Department of Defense to provide assistance to France in its efforts to secure Mali, Niger, and Chad from terrorists and violent extremists and to make the determinations required under such section to direct such a drawdown.”
US-Nigeria relationship on Boko Haram has been rocky, leading the Nigerian Ambassador to the US openly stating the American government had not given Nigeria the needed support especially in the area of weapons.
The US government refused to sell US-made Cobra fighter-helicopters to Nigeria.
It was gathered that even when Nigeria decided to purchase the helicopters from Israel, Washington declined to give its consent for the deal to sail through.
Under the terms of US-Israeli ties, the Israeli government cannot transfer the military helicopters to a third country unless the US government okayed the transaction.
A US military training of a unit of the Nigerian military was also abruptly ended late last year as the Americans said Nigeria asked for the training to stop.