Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dora Akunyili says Nigeria may cut ties with U.S.

FEDERAL Executive Council (FEC) has described as highhanded and unfair, decision by the United States government to list the country among those to be watched over terror even as the government of Eritrea has pitched its tents with Nigeria in condemning the listing.

Addressing State House Correspondents after the first meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC in 2010, Minister of Information and Communication, Prof Dora Akunyili stated that after reviewing the development, government has come to the conclusion that the US verdict on Nigeria was highhanded, especially that the country has participated very actively in all anti-terrorist efforts to wipe out global vices and ratifying other documents to back its commitment.

"Nigeria expresses its disappointment and concern over the underserved placement of the country on the country of interest list and views this action as having the potential of undermining long standing and established US-Nigeria bilateral ties and the goodwill the US enjoys in Nigeria," said the council.

She noted that even though the terrorist suspect is a Nigerian, he was influenced from outside the country as he lived most of his time in other countries and only transited through Nigeria for less than 30 minutes on the day in question where he attempted to bomb an aircraft.

Continuing, Akunyili read out that: "It is on record that Nigeria has signed and ratified 9 out of 16 United Nations and African Union instruments on counter terrorism dealing with issues ranging from money laundering, drug trafficking, crime, to nuclear terrorism. This is in addition to its various roles in peace keeping which have earned it international recognition and commendations of the UN'.

Akunyili said Nigeria has since December 25th when the unfortunate event occurred,expressed deep sorrow and dismay over the incident which it condemned in all ramifications.

Meanwhile, the government of Eritrea yesterday described the listing of Nigeria and other countries on the watch list of terrorism by the United States (US) as a clear display of double standard.

Ambassador of Eritrea to Nigeria , Mohammed Ali Omaro who spoke to newsmen in Abuja also accused the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the US of supporting the continued occupying of Eritrea land by Ethiopia while sanctioning it over frivolous accusation.

The convoy who noted that the UNSC imposed sanctions which include arms embargo, travel restrictions and asset freezing on Eritrea over alleged role in Somalia as well as refusal to withdraw troops in Djibouti queried the right of the US to determine which country is a terrorist country and which is not.

The Eritrean envoy who reacted to question of US listing Nigerian among the 14 countries said that "we have to call a spade a spade, who decides which country or act as amounting to terrorism."

"14 countries were listed as those not to be stopped from traveling to the USA but that there will be thorough searching and checking but then, what is the reason for that? Who determines that, how can these 14 countries (including Nigeria ) be hosting al-Qaeda and terrorists, it is the double standard of the US " Omaro added.

Omaro who wondered how the Eritrea Government could evade the military bases of US and France with their large naval and air force presence in the Red Sea as well as their sophisticated surveillance system to deliver arms to Somalia armed groups, warned that his people will not succumb to threat and external aggression.

According to him, "the allegations of financial support are equally tenuous. The people and the government of Eritrea are struggling to achieve sustainable socio-economic development through self-reliance. Hence, do not have the financial ability to bankroll armed groups in Somalia .

Eritrea went further to accuse the UN and US of falsifying information especially in the accusation of unresolved dispute with Djibouti, stating that it was aimed at diverting Eritrea from its legal battle to reclaim its occupied territories by Ethiopia.

Daily Champion

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