The opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has blamed the ineptness of Nigerian leadership for the recent decision of the US government to categorize three leaders of the Boko Haram as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
According to the BBC, the US State Department announced it has added Abubakar Shekau, Abubakar Adam Kambar and Khalid al-Barnawi to its list of terrorists. That means the individuals are not allowed to hold property or assets in the United States and that Americans are prohibited from dealing with them. According to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, the three men will no longer be able to use the United States to raise funds for their group. The VOA reports Nuland said: "It also sends a shot across the bow [a warning] to those who are considering taking up extreme violence to address grievances in the north [of Nigeria] that this is a course that is open to us with regard to them as well."
The ACN National Publicity Secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed, issued a statement in Ilesa, Osun State on Sunday, that delved on the implications of the designation to Nigeria's sovereignty. The statement referred to a letter purportedly sent from the Nigerian Embassy in Washington "begging" the US government not to kill innocent Nigerians in the event of a strike on the Boko Haram leaders on Nigerian soil.
The ACN accused Jonathan's administration of virtually surrendering Nigeria's sovereignty to the US government. According to AllAFrica.com, the ACN said:
"In what must rank as the most shameful acceptance that it is indeed helpless and hopeless, the Nigerian government, through the nation's Embassy in Washington, has agreed that in line with the declaration, the US government is free to attack the designated Boko Haram leaders even on its (Nigerian) soil.
"To rub salt into Nigeria's wounds, the government went ahead to beg the US not to kill innocent Nigerians in the process of such attacks against the Boko Haram leaders."
The Nigerian media had earlier quoted contents of the letter allegedly sent from the Nigerian Embassy in Washington to the US government. The Nigerian Guardian quotes the part of the letter that the ACN statement refers to:
"... the Federal Republic of Nigeria is firmly resolved in its determination to bring an end to the destructive activities of this group. We shall continue our efforts in this direction with the active cooperation and assistance of our friends and allies especially our host government.
“The Embassy however wishes to appeal that whatever action that is eventually taken against these individuals, their immediate neighbors who have felt most the impact, but are very much vehemently opposed to the activities of Boko Hararn, should not be affected."The Guardian in its comment described the "appeal" by the Nigerian government as "a tacit partial surrender of the nation’s sovereignty to the United States of America." The paper noted that U.S. military actions against terrorists in Somalia and Pakistan included drone attacks under the "US search and destroy objective against foreign terrorists."
According to The Guardian, diplomats in Washington said that one of the key implications of the designation of three leaders of the Boko Haram as terrorists is that the US government may decide to launch direct attacks on them on Nigerian soil at any time, because they are now considered enemies and threats to America's national security interests.
The Nation reports that ACN called on the National Assembly to act to restore Nigeria’s sovereignty, and suggested that the National Assembly should hold a public hearing to allow Nigerians contribute their views on what is "clearly an unprecedented act in Nigeria’s history."
According to The Nation, the ACN said: “We appeal to the National Assembly to see and handle this as a non-partisan issue, an issue that touches the very core of Nigeria’s existence. It should also be taken as an opportunity for the legislature to take the initiative of ending the Boko Haram crisis from the failed executive. Time is running out!”