Why Nigeria is not getting foreign support — Ex-foreign minister

A former Nigerian minister of foreign affairs, Aminu Wali, has given reasons why some foreign countries are reluctant to help Nigeria in its fight against Boko Haram insurgency.

Mr Wali, who was once Nigeria’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations, also headed the foreign ministry between 2014 and 2015 when Nigeria grappled with a lot of foreign relations issues relating to security.

Responding to questions in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the former minister said the government often loses the support of the international community due to opposition at home.

He lamented that criticism of opposition elements often shape the opinion of the world, leading to blockade and absence of support similar to what happened during his time as Nigeria’s chief diplomat.

“When it comes to fighting insecurity, the opposition (parties) always blast the sitting government by not giving them the right support and advice.”

He said Western countries at the time “fell for these kinds of propaganda, and we entered lots of problems with them.

“For example, we (wanted) cobra helicopters from the U.S. They refused to sell it to us during my time. We headed elsewhere to get these helicopters. I visited Turkey. They said they are willing to sell to us, but, unfortunately, they cannot go ahead and sell to us because the engines are American and therefore, they have to have a license from America. But the U.S. was not prepared to help,” the former minister recalled.

Reliving a particular meeting with United States diplomats after the Goodluck Jonathan government had postponed the 2015 election citing the excuse of military operations in the Northeast, Mr Wali said the diplomats were more interested in regime change instead of helping Nigeria tackle the security challenge.

He said though there was a lethargic response from the western power in supporting Nigeria to overcome the challenges, a number of other countries actually supported the decade-old war.

“As a member of the national security council, I know that we had a lot of support from a lot of countries that are sympathetic to our cause. That is why we were able to stop Boko Haram in their tracks.”

Mr Wali denied allegations that the Nigerian government at the time declined support from some countries to help it locate abducted Chibok schoolgirls in 2014.

“There is no way a government would say we do not want help from any quarters,” he said.

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