Following Reuters reporting on an illegal abortion programme and the targeted slaughter of infants by the Nigerian military, two members of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee called on President Joe Biden on Wednesday to withdraw a nearly $1 billion weapons sale to Nigeria.
Members of the subcommittee on Africa, Democrats Sara Jacobs of California and Republican’s Chris Smith of New Jersey also called for a review of Nigeria’s security assistance and cooperation programmes, including a risk assessment of civilian casualties and abuses as a result of the arms assistance. The call for a review is the second in recent months from Congress.
The legislators said, “We write to express our concern with current U.S. policy on and military support to Nigeria.”
The United States has combined security aid with training in international law compliance for Nigeria. Humanitarian workers have indicated that Nigeria’s security forces appear to have a limited understanding of humanitarian law and tools for successful engagement with local populations, according to the legislators.
Washington’s support has done little to end the 14-year struggle between the Nigerian military and Islamist insurgents in the country’s northeast, and there have been reports of weaponry captured by terrorists, according to Congress lawmakers. The legislators added in their letter, “Therefore, we believe continuing to move forward with the nearly $1 billion arms sale would be highly inappropriate and we urge the Administration to rescind it,” the lawmakers said in the letter.
After senators on both sides of the aisle had paused a previous deal back in April amid concerns about other rights violations, the US State Department approved the weapons sale and other military support to Nigeria, the largest ever offered to the country.
Following the publication of the Reuters stories in December, U.S. Senator Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, ordered a review of U.S. security aid and cooperation programs in Nigeria.
According to the Reuters investigation, the Nigerian military has been conducting a secret, systematic, and illegal abortion programme in the country’s northeast since at least 2013, terminating at least 10,000 pregnancies among women and girls. Nigerian military chiefs denied the existence of the programme and claimed that the Reuters reporting was part of a foreign campaign to weaken the country’s struggle against rebels.
Copyright: News Central TV
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central TV.