US think tank seeks ‘support for democracy’ in Nigeria

Feb 08, 2007 01:00 AM

United States based Centre for International Policy (CIP) has urged America to support Nigeria's democratic forces and encourage legislative oversight of the presidency in order to quell "wholesale theft of oil revenues as well as the insurgencies, criminality and social banditry now rampant in the Delta."
CIP, in a new International Policy Report also countered Pentagon analysts' claim that vast "uncontrolled spaces" in Saharan and Sahelian Africa are rife with terrorists seeking to damage the United States, adding that the evidence for such claims is woefully thin.

The report came on the heels of an announcement by the US government that it is creating a US Africa Command headquarters, to be known as AFRICOM, to coordinate all US military and security interests throughout the continent. The report, Convergent Interests: US Energy Security and the “Securing” of Nigerian Democracy, written by professors Paul M. Lubeck, Michael J. Watts and Ronnie D. Lipschutz, analyses the intersection of present and future oil demand, the domestic politics of Nigeria, especially the Delta, and American military policies in Muslim Africa.
It warned against militarization in the Gulf of Guinea adding that it will exacerbate an already tense situation in Nigeria which has nothing to do with terrorism, but has the potential to destabilise the rest of the region.

Quoting a United Nations' report, CIP noted that some 80 % of Nigeria's oil monies flow to 1 % of the population, while 75 % of the country's people live on roughly $ 1 per day. The group noted that this trend poses threat to Nigeria's stability rather than terrorism as earlier stated by the US.
On militarization, the group said "given the internal security problems often found in resource rich countries, it is much more likely that the newly-acquired skills and equipment will be directed against domestic opponents than global terrorists." Earlier, the US moved to establish a US-Africa Command to be headed by a top-ranking, four-star military officer who will serve on equal footing with other regional US commanders around the globe.

In his White House statement, President George Bush said the United States plans to consult with African leaders "to seek their thoughts on how Africa Command can respond to security challenges." He also said the United States "will work closely with our African partners to determine an appropriate location for the new command in Africa.
The transition team for the new command temporarily is operating in Stuttgart, Germany, which is also home to the headquarters of US European Command. The Defence Department would like, however, eventually to locate the command headquarters in an African nation.

Source / This Day
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