Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Nigeria: A Terrorist or Peace-loving State?

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The recent branding of Nigeria as a terrorist state by the Obama’s administration is no doubt eliciting reactions from people over the globe, especially from those who have known Nigeria to be a very peaceful, accommodating, receptive, religious and hospitable state.
President Obama, by my calculation, was too hasty to have made that pronouncement without recourse to proper investigation and a fair, open trial of the person involved to be sure whether or not he had the backing of his country. Nigeria no doubt has an enviable record in terms of world peace and has played a pivotal role in the pursuance of peaceful co-habitation by countries who share boundaries. The way and manner she handled the boundary problem she had with Cameroon testifies to the fact that she respects the right of other countries even when she had the power to subdue Cameroon as a weaker country. She could have as well refused to obey the decision of the International court of Justice (after all there are countries who have refused to respect their rulings).
Nigeria has been the highest supplier of man power to the United Nations peace-keeping operations world-wide (only second to Pakistan). She played a key role in restoring peace to Kosovo. She has been the mainstay of ECOMOG, supplying more than 50% of personnel and equipment needed to keep ECOMOG going, participating in restoring peace to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, etc. Nigeria was also instrumental to the abolition of Apartheid in South Africa.
It is a known fact that Nigerians are a peace-loving and hospitable people. The country has hosted several international programmes without any record of anybody having been molested or terrorized while in the country. She hosted the African Soccer Nations Tournaments in 1980 and 2000, FIFA U-21 world youth championship in 1999, FIFA U-16 world cup 2009, All African Games in 2003, Common Wealth Heads of Government meeting, just to mention a few and no one went back home with stories of having been maltreated.
Recently the internal problems we had in the country-the Niger Delta crises (which has nothing to do with terrorism or international affairs anyway) were handled in such a matured manner by the Nigeria government that the world had to salute her for the declaration of amnesty which ensured that nobody was unduly victimized after the crisis.
Nigerians are every where in the world (including America) and are contributing their quotas to help develop those countries. Notable among Nigerians who have contributed immensely to the progress of America are Dr Philip Emeagwali the father of the Internet (the only man who has single-handedly won the Gordon Bell’s award), Dr Talabi who restructured the American 911 response system after the September 11 attack, and others too numerous to mention. I am sure the American government is aware of these facts and if so why have they not branded Nigeria a ‘Technology state’? If using a single person out of about 150 million persons is a good yardstick to brand a nation it therefore would mean that all countries are terrorist states, America inclusive; because in every country there is definitely somebody who is bad no matter how good the country is.
In as much as I do not support the attempt by Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab to bomb an America-bound aircraft, I wish to say that tagging Nigeria a terrorist country is a calculated attempt to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. Everyone should be fair to Nigeria just as she is fair to everyone.

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