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EXCLUSIVE: Heads may roll over inclusion of Leahy Law issue in Buhari’s US speech

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By Danlami Nmodu

President Muhammadu Buhari’s  trip to the United States has  been  trailed  by some sort of “confusion”  over his reference to the Leahy law as aiding or abetting Boko Haram in   address at the US Institute for Peace,USIP.

A  very senior diplomatic source told Newsdiaryonline  that  the top government official held responsible for drafting the address may be in trouble.Checks by Newsdiaryonline  in fact  revealed  that the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency,NIA,Ambassador  Ayo Oke may be  in trouble over the speech .

Newsdiaryonline was told that “Buhari’s inner caucus and the inner caucus of the All Progressives Congress,APC  belive that  there was malicious intent  behind the inclusion of that  Leahy Law issue in the speech.

“The caucuses believe that  that aspect was injected to undermine the very successful trip by President Buhari to the United States.

“Well  don’t want to say that  he alone or others will be fired, but heads may  roll. And there is confusion over the matter right now.Being an officer appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan, the DG NIA is being accused of malicious intent over the inclusion of that Leahy law  issue to undermine  the goodwill Buhari enjoyed during the US  trip,” Newsdiaryonline was told .

In his address at USIP  that is said ,according to diplomatic sources to be causing “confusion”  now ,Buhari said “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.”

Presidency Moves To Douse  Tension

The findings  by Newsdiaryonline  as reported here   emerged at a day  the presidency also   made frantic efforts to douse the tension fueled by the widespread media report on how the Leahy law has hindered the battle against Boko Haram.

In a statement on Friday, Mr Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president Persisting claims in  the local and international media that President Muhammadu Buhari has accused or indicted the United States Government of helping the terrorist group, Boko Haram are untrue and widely off mark.

Adesina said reports to that effect are an unfortunate misinterpretation and distortion of the President’s remarks at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) during his highly successful official visit to Washington DC.

The spokesman further said  , “Indeed, President Buhari made it abundantly clear in those remarks, copies of which were circulated to the media, that he was convinced that the United States could never support groups such as Boko Haram.

“I know the American people cannot support any group engaged in these crimes,” the President clearly stated.

According to Adesina, “the regrets expressed by  President Buhari at USIP about the impact of the application of the Leahy Law on Nigeria’s war against  Boko Haram and terrorism cannot be construed as an indictment of President Barack  Obama and the United States Government who have publicly and privately declared their preparedness to give the Buhari Administration the fullest possible support and assistance.

“Within the context in which they were made, President Buhari’s comments on the adverse effect of the Leahy Law on Nigeria’s efforts to contain Boko Haram’s  atrocious acts of terrorism should only be taken as a passionate appeal for even greater understanding and support from  a very powerful and longstanding ally.

“President Buhari has nothing but the highest possible regard for President Obama, the United States Government, the people of the United States, their laws and institutions.

The statement not further that “The President had very successful and useful talks with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, other high-ranking US government officials and members of United States Congress during his visit to Washington DC.

“It is his expectation that those talks will lead to better mutual understanding and a further deepening of bilateral relations between Nigeria and the United States, especially in Nigeria’s current priority areas of  defence and security cooperation.”

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