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U.S. says report not to foil Nigeria's bid for UN seat

Posted by From Oghogho Obayuwana,Abuja on 2005/06/07 | Views: 292 |

U.S. says report not to foil Nigeria's bid for UN seat

UNITED States (U.S.) Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. John Campbell, has said that the controversial report by the American National Intelligence Committee (NIC) was not ill-motivated.

UNITED States (U.S.) Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. John Campbell, has said that the controversial report by the American National Intelligence Committee (NIC) was not ill-motivated.

Campbell particularly said that was not meant to abort Nigeria's bid for a seat at the United Nations (UN) Security Council. Cheery news also came from the envoy, who adjudged Nigeria as demonstrating significant progress in its anti-human trafficking efforts, particularly with regards to law enforcement.

At a press briefing in Abuja yesterday, Campbell said that the spectacular feat by Nigeria in curbing the global slur of human trafficking had "upgraded Nigeria from the Tier 2 watch list, to the Tier 2 list". Among countries in the former category include South Africa while those on the latter are Japan and Switzerland.

The security report, Campbell added, was not designed to force Nigeria give up former Liberian president, Mr. Charles Taylor, who is currently on political asylum in the country.

He also reacted to insinuations about a conspiracy theory and

an alleged attempt to tarnish President Olusegun Obasanjo's travel profile.

Fielding questions from foreign affairs correspondents, Campbell said: "No, it is not correct to say that the report was meant to achieve that. It had absolutely nothing to do with President Obasanjo's travel schedule; it had no relationship at all to the current debate, discussions on a wide range of issues.

"Charles Taylor is being mentioned, a security seat is being mentioned, and someone might as well mention debt forgiveness."

"There is a whole, many of the issues that constitute an agenda between the U.S. and Nigeria. Such an agenda is perfectly reasonable between two states that have the closest of relationship. You have an agenda of issues between two states that work together, that co-operate together and that are tied by bonds of friendship. Surely, you don't have an agenda between two states that are hostile to each other", he said.

Campbell's clarifications represent the highest official comments on the disputed intelligence reports following earlier positions taken by the embassy officials in Nigeria, including the submission that the report does not represent the American government's diplomatic view on the issues raised.

"The experts from time to time advise public officers. Members of NIC are all private individuals. Therefore, what they say most emphatically does not represent the views of the U.S. government because what they have been doing is generating their own views and passing them to the U.S. government.

"... The paper that they did dwelt with West Africa in general and not simply with Nigeria. The paper was posted on a public website months ago for anyone to read and that's because there is absolutely nothing secrete about it. But there is a third point and it is that that document was prepared by very thoughtful people looking at current trend in Africa and expressing concern and I will suggest that that is a reason for looking at the document carefully", he added.

On the level of influence wielded by the government over the NIC experts, the envoy said that "the basic point was that the experts were looking at trends in sub-Saharan Africa. In the American system, these observers have complete freedom of speech; even if what they say are unsettling to some persons in another part of the world, the U.S. government has no control over the views that are expressed by other Americans."

He stated that up to 15,000 persons are trafficked into the U.S. in a year. The Americans involved in the acts, he explained, are punished and are under the full weight of the law. "The U.S. law is very severe and is equated with the punishment for kidnapping, rape or murder! It is extremely severe. It's a federal crime. Persons have been executed in the past. Now, it carries a life sentence."

The 150-country report on human trafficking released last Friday by the Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, is believed to be the most comprehensive world-wide document on the efforts by governments to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons, also known as modern day slavery.

"Nigeria has shown clear progress over the past year in the implementation of the 2003 anti-trafficking in persons law. The Nigerian Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) investigated more than 40 cases of suspected trafficking, leading to eight new prosecutions.

"In November, Benin High Court, Edo State, handed down the first conviction under the 2003 anti-trafficking law.... The police and anti-trafficking unit rescued 35 victims of trafficking, opened 27 investigations and arrested 40 suspected traffickers," Campbell added.

In spite of good report, Nigeria still remains a source, transit and destination country for trafficked women and children.

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Comments (3)

Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.