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  • U.S. Embassy in Nigeria Issues Security Alert on Boko Haram Threat

    On Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria warned that the northern Nigerian insurgent group Boko Haram may be planning attacks against the capital city of Abuja. However, the Nigerian government continues to downplay the Boko Haram threat.

    When the United States issued a similar security alert last November, Nigerian national security advisor General Owoeye Andrew Azazi criticized the United States for exaggerating the threat. Similarly, Nigerian authorities have denigrated the latest embassy statement, stating that “high profile hotels were always a possible target but security was tight and people should not live in fear.” Yet the Nigerian government should be on heightened alert. Boko Haram’s attack against the United Nations headquarters last August sent a clear message that international entities are not off limits.

    Considering Boko Haram’s name translates as “Western education is a sin,” it is not entirely surprising that the terrorist group would escalate its attacks beyond Christians, police, and even other Muslims in Nigeria to Western and international targets. An attack against Westerners would have several implications. First, it would embarrass the Nigerian government, blatantly flaunting its inability to protect the capital. An attack would increase Boko Haram’s international profile, as some experts do not consider Boko Haram a major threat to U.S. security. Furthermore, Boko Haram’s main organizational objective is the downfall of the current government. By attacking Abuja, Boko Haram would wound the government and expose its vulnerabilities.

    According to Heritage’s Morgan Lorraine Roach, the Obama Administration should make sure that the Nigerian government is a responsible partner in combating this threat. This requires taking Boko Haram seriously. President Goodluck Jonathan issued tough words, claiming his government will “crush” Boko Haram, yet the violence continues.

    The United States has a responsibility to protect its citizens in Nigeria. The Nigerian government should not have questioned the necessity of this duty. While it is unlikely that Boko Haram possesses the capabilities to strike the U.S. homeland directly, this does not mean it cannot harm U.S. interests in Nigeria. The Obama Administration should maintain its vigilance and urge the government of Nigeria to do the same.

    Treston Wheat is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to U.S. Embassy in Nigeria Issues Security Alert on Boko Haram Threat

    1. This is alarming. I hope nobody gets harmed and that threat will remain as threat. I pray for the safety of the Nigerians and also the Americans.

      -Tracy

    2. kate I Nwankwo says:

      It is sad,very sad indeed that the Nigerian government should treat such warning from American Embassy with kid's gloves,it is not enough talking tough,this is not the time to protect the glaring menace from Terrorists-This is the time for the two nations to come together and proffer sound solutions that would protect the lives of helpless Nigerians,foreigners-women,children and others

    3. Ugochukwu says:

      We appreciate the warnings of the US government against boko haram and their great concern towards the life of their citizens and even life of Nigerian citizens. we believe they have great access to the Nigeria Government but we wonder if they make the same great effort to warn the presidency not to down play the threat of the boko haram as many Nigerian life's re been lost everyday. The other time our president said in the church that other foreign countries like the US applaud him for his great effort against boko haram which we know he is doing nothing but only praying that one day devil will go to church. He said only Nigerians criticizes him.

      • ndee steven ikem says:

        except the Lord builds Naija, the builders and the leaders build and lead in vain

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