Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kerry Nags Nigeria

"Kerry, in Africa, presses Nigeria on human rights" by Michael R. Gordon |  New York Times, May 26, 2013

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Making his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa as secretary of state, John Kerry urged Nigeria on Saturday to uphold human rights as it steps up its fight against Islamic extremists.

“One’s person’s atrocity does not excuse another’s,” Kerry said, when asked about reports of serious human rights violations by Nigerian forces.

“We defend the right completely of the government of Nigeria to defend itself and to fight back against terrorists,” he added. “That said, I have raised the issue of human rights with the government.”

Kerry’s visit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the African Union comes during a trip that is mainly devoted to Middle East diplomacy. Since he left Washington on Monday, Kerry has traveled to Oman, Israel, and Jordan, to which he will return Sunday.

Even in Africa, the Syrian crisis was on his agenda, even as Nigeria is stepping up its fight against Islamist militants, France is preparing to hand over much of the responsibility for protecting Mali from Islamic fighters to an African force, and tensions between Sudan and South Sudan have flared.

Related: Mali Post a Mile Long 

And it is going to take the French even longer to get out, despite what you were told.

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria recently declared a state of emergency in the country’s northeast provinces and ordered air and ground assaults against Boko Haram, a militant group. But reports that Nigerian forces have carried out extrajudicial killings, including against civilians, have become a problem for the United States, which provides law enforcement assistance and has cooperated with Nigeria, a major oil supplier, on counterterrorism issues.

Related6 workers kidnapped from oil vessel off Nigeria coast

Earlier this month, Kerry, in a statement, noted “credible allegations” that Nigerian forces had been engaged in “gross human rights violations.”

Kerry returned to that theme on Saturday in a joint news conference with Ethiopia’s foreign minister, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Asked about reports of human rights violations — there have been reports of large-scale civilian killings by the army and police in Nigeria — Kerry said the Nigerian government had acknowledged that abuses had occurred.

I don't know if he is talking about the vigilantesstudents, or soldiers.

“They are working to try to control it,” he said. But revenge was not an adequate strategy, he said. What is needed “is good governance,” Kerry said. “It’s ridding yourself of a terrorist organization so that you can establish a standard of law that people can respect. And that’s what needs to happen in Nigeria.”

I don't know how foreign diplomats put up with his double-talk.

Before meeting with the foreign minister of Sudan, Kerry noted that he planned to send a special envoy soon to work on reducing tensions between the countries.

The difficulties, he said, went beyond border disputes and involved the concerns of residents in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states of Sudan who did not want to be compelled by Sudan to live by strict Islamic rules.

“You have people who for a long time have felt that they want their secular governance and their identity respected,” Kerry said. “That’s the fundamental clash.”

The tensions, he added, had been exacerbated by the support rebels in Sudan had received from South Sudan.

Gee, I was told it was the other way around.

Kerry also met with Egypt’s president, Mohammed Morsi, calling on him to make further economic reforms so that Congress can approve more aid for Egypt.


Also seeNigeria sets up Islamist extremist amnesty group

Nigeria bill bans same-sex marriage

Now that does it!

Related: Sunday Globe Special: Nigeria in the New Format

Something not so new:

"Nigeria pardons ex-governor who stole millions" by Jon Gambrell |  Associated Press, March 14, 2013

LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigeria has pardoned the former political benefactor of the nation’s president, a presidential adviser said Wednesday, a politician convicted of stealing millions of dollars while serving as a state governor.

The decision from a closed-door meeting Tuesday of the Council of State to pardon former Bayelsa state governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha drew immediate outrage across Nigeria, an oil-rich nation long considered to have one of the world’s most corrupt governments.

While the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan repeatedly says it is fighting the entrenched system of graft that strangles Nigeria, the leader has shared stages before with convicted politicians. Meanwhile, the country’s largely opaque budgets and loose regulatory controls continue to allow for hundreds of millions of dollars more to be stolen annually.


Of course the rest is abductions and hostages by a "little-known Islamic extremist group" in the name of Islam and the cause of Mali (yeah, that looks real). 

NEXT DAY UPDATE: Orchard Gardens graduate excels with determination, support