Nigeria has voiced its opposition at the US government's plans to include Boko Haram on its terrorist watch list. Nigeria's ambassador to Washington Ade Adefuye and the country's National Security advisor, General Abdrew Azazi, formally requested that the United States not include Islamist militant group Boko Haram in its watch list of foreign terrorist groups posing a threat to the US or its global interests.
They made their request at the end of a series of meetings with senior White House officials. Nigeria fears that including Boko Haram in the US watch list could make it more difficult for Nigerian citizens to travel to the US and further affect bilateral trade between the two countries.
Nigerian authorities said they would manage to counter the threat posed by Boko Haram, as they did in the past with other terrorist or rebel groups operating in the country. Over the past few days, President Barack Obama has come under increased pressure from the US Congress to include Boko Haram in the terrorist watch list.
A group of US Senators and House Representatives also wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, criticising the Obama administration for acting "too slowly" on this issue and claiming that "ten years after 9/11, we cannot allow bureaucratic stovepipes and interagency turf battles to prevent us from protecting the US homeland and US global interests".
The letter mentioned some recent attacks carried out by Boko Haram against Christian churches in Nigeria and against the UN headquarters in the capital Abuja (August 2011) in which 25 people were killed. Early this morning, a group of Boko Haram militants attacked a police station in the town of Sokoto, in north-western Nigeria, killing a police officer and a civilian. Italian engineer Franco Lamolinara was killed in a failed rescue attempt in Sokoto on March 8, after being held hostage by Boko Haram militants for 10 months.