Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hillary Clinton attacks corruption and bad governance in Nigeria

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made scathing remarks on Nigeria's corruption and bad governance at a town hall meeting at the State Department in Washington, DC on Tuesday.

Answering a question from a departmental contractor, she described conditions in Nigeria as deteriorating.

"The corruption is unbelievable," she said. "When I did a town hall [meeting in August 2009] in Abuja, people were just literally standing and shouting about what it was like to live in a country where the elite was so dominant, where corruption was so rampant, where criminality was so pervasive."

Nigeria used to have a very high rate of literacy, she added, but in recent years illiteracy was growing and statistics measuring health were declining.

"The failure of the Nigerian leadership over many years to respond to the legitimate needs of their own young people, to have a government that promoted a meritocracy, that really understood that democracy can't just be given lip service, it has to be delivering services to the people, has meant there is a lot of alienation in that country and others."

The town hall meeting in Washington was held to mark the first anniversary of clinton's term of office as President Barack Obama's Secretary of State.

She suggested that poor governance and deteriorating living conditions had made young Nigerians ripe targets for militants looking for recruits to attack the West.

"Nigeria is facing a threat from increasing radicalization that needs to be addressed, and not just by military means."

Clinton had been asked about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian who is being held for allegedly trying to blow up an airliner carrying 300 passengers to the U.S. on Christmas Day. The Al Qaeda group in the Arabian peninsula claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for U.S. strikes on Yemeni soil.

Clinton said the U.S. government's information was that Abdulmutallab was disturbed by "his father's wealth and the kind of living conditions that he viewed as being not Islamic enough..."

All Africa

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