The United States of America has listed Nigeria among countries where extra-judicial killing by the military is rife. The accusation was made by both Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Senator Ben Cardin, a ranking member of a panel of US senators at a hearing convened by the Foreign Relations Committee to examine the threat that terrorism poses in Africa. The two spoke during a hearing on Tuesday, according to a Voice of America (VOA) report.
Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey also told the lawmakers that “Nigerian people face daunting governance and corruption issues,” according to the report.

VOA said that during the sitting, Senator Ben Cardin expressed concerns that Washington is giving countries a free pass for human rights abuses or poor governance as long as they are useful counterterrorism partners.

It quoted him as saying: “In Ethiopia for example, they just had parliamentary elections and not a single opposition leader was elected and security forces there have killed hundreds of protesters; in Chad dozens of military officers were arrested because they wouldn’t vote for the president; in Somalia there are reports they are using children for spies; in Nigeria and Kenya there have been extra judicial killings by the military. Yet I don’t see a response by America.”
The report said that Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield responded that each of the arguments made by Senator Cardin was met by a strong condemnation by the US government, explaining, however, that at the same time the US is committed to firmly working with their partners to address efforts to defeat terrorism.

“We can’t draw a line and say we can’t work with you on terrorism because of human rights violation but we reinforce that they must respect human rights and civil liberties,” she was quoted as saying.
VOA reported that while expressing another concern, Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey complained that while Nigerian people face daunting governance and corruption issues, the US is planning to sell the military 29 super Tucano attack aircraft to supposedly fight Boko Haram. He added, according to VOA, that the Nigerian military has a long standing history of human rights abuses including under the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Senator Markey was quoted as saying that just last month, “Amnesty International accused the Nigerian government of killing hundreds of members of the Shia minority sect in December.”

The report said that Thomas-Greenfield responded that the US aid is not moving away from fighting corruption, recalling that last year Washington turned down a Nigerian request for Cobra attack helicopters because “we were concerned about their ability to use those and not have an impact on their communities.”
The report said she argued that the approach, however, has to be multi-faceted, saying: “We have to do security but we also have to do the capacity building, the development assistance, etc.”

•Photo shows Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield.

Source News Express
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