By Danlami Nmodu
Reactions have continued to trail Newsdiaryonline report that heads may roll over the inclusion of Leahy Law affair in President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech at the United States Institute for Peace,USIP during the last lap of his trip to the United States earlier this week.
A presidency official who spoke with Newsdiaryonline on Saturday however debunked the claim in the story that the Director General of National Intelligency Agency,DG,NIA is being held responsible for the inclusion of the Leahy Law affair.
“The DG NIA Ambassador Ayoke Oke did not write that speech”, said a presidency official who spoke with Newsidaryonline under condition of anonymity.
He said further, that in fact, “Speeches are written for the president by the relevant ministries”.He however did not state who is being held responsible for the Leahy Law gaffe.
Newsdiaryoline had reported that the address had set off some diplomatic tension and some “confusion” .Newsdiaryonline also reported that members of Buhari’s inner caucus as well as the APC caucus are unhappy with the speech .They suspect that the Leah Law saga was injected into the speech to undermine the goodwill Buhari gained from his visit the US.Heads are therefore expected to roll over the saga.
The story has generated alot of heated reactions online.Some the observers wondered why the USIP speech was not reviewed by officials before it was read by the president.
The controversial portion of Buhari’s speech at USIP reads thus :“In our efforts at combating the activities of Boko Haram, the new Government has sought and obtained the support of not only our neighbours other international friends and partners. Regrettably, the blanket application of the Leahy Law by the United States on the grounds of unproven allegations of human rights violations levelled against our forces has denied us access to appropriate strategic weapons to prosecute the war against the insurgents. In the face of abduction of innocent school girls from their hostels, indiscriminate bombings of civilians in markets and places of worship, our forces have remained largely impotent because they do not possess the appropriate weapons and technology which they could have had, had the so called human rights violations not been an obstacle.
“Unwittingly, and I dare say, unintentionally, the application of the Leahy law amendment by the U. S. Government has aided and abated the Boko Haram terrorist group in the prosecution of its extremist ideology and hate, the indiscriminate killings and maiming of civilians, in raping of women and girls, and in their other heinous crimes. I believe this is not the spirit of the Leahy Laws. I know the American people cannot support any group engaged in these crimes.
“I therefore strongly appeal to both the Executive Arm and the US Congress to examine how the US Government can provide us with far more substantial counter-terrorism assistance with minimal strings. The longer we delay, the deadlier the Boko Haram gets. At all events, we have re-written the rules of engagement protecting the rights of combatants and in particular safeguarding civilians in theatres of conflict.”
But Buhari in a statement on Friday denied indicting neither the US nor President Barack Obama in the speech.
“I know the American people cannot support any group engaged in these crimes,” the President clearly stated on Friday.