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« Bush’s “wimpification” of the UN (or, St. Petersburg’s G-8 summer outing) | Main | Soccer Like Life: Only the Number of Goals Counts »

July 20, 2006

War Against Terror: PM Tony Blair Speaks on Terrorism in Africa

by Oyeyemi Olodo, Esq. (London, England) --- British PM Tony Blair As the ongoing crisis in the Niger Delta of Nigeria continues to worsen, Nigerian Government is under pressure to put its house in order or risk regional military intervention. The attacks on Offshore and Onshore oil facilities which the militant Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) claim responsibility for have cut Nigeria’s daily exports of 2.5 million barrels by 500 million barrels.

As a result, the country which is a major player in oil export is contributing to the high oil prices presently at a record breaking of $70 a barrel. The instability and kidnapping of oil workers by fully armed militia fighters which the Nigerian authority seems unable to contain is creating concerns in the western world.

The US government recently provided logistics support to the Nigerian government by supplying special boats to help tackle piracy, arms and oil smuggling including a joint military training exercise by troops from both countries focussing on strategies for combating militias more experienced on manoeuvring creeks battle.

Nevertheless, it is becoming apparent that more is needed to address the issue of the Niger Delta crisis especially in light of lessons learnt from the ongoing war against terrorism around the world; particularly Iraq.

The Publisher of The Integrity Magazine, a U.K monthly magazine, was among the prominent elite magazine editors invited to the state Dining Room of No. 10 Downing Street, for a question and answer session the UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair. The Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Oyeyemi Olodo, asked the PM a probing question on the spill over effect of the Niger Delta saga. The Prime Minister, not going into details, has revealed that a British military tailored pro-active stand by force option is in the pipeline to checkmate crisis that threatens democracy and the peace, not only Nigeria, but Africa.

TIM Publisher: I would just like to know your opinion with regard to the Niger Delta crisis going on presently, and taking from lessons learned from Iraq what other support do you think you could give to the Nigerian government in trying to deal with this issue in a diplomatic and appropriate manner, especially taking into consideration that most of these so-called terrorists or rebels are watching telly and learning some bad examples from what is happening in Iraq and ... that part of the region?

Prime Minister: Well what we are trying to do in the Niger Delta is to work with the Nigerian government, both to build their capacity to keep the peace, and we do a lot of work with the Nigerian government on the capability they have got, and in addition to that we are working for a standby force in Africa as well to try and intervene where there are difficulties, particularly when there are difficulties that have got religious and ethnic overtones, as those in the Niger Delta. But in the end the best answer to these problems is to encourage development, to give stability and also to defeat those, including those in the Niger Delta, who want to split religious groups from each other. And I am afraid this is a worldwide phenomenon of global terrorism that is based on a perversion of the true doctrine of Islam, but it is there and we need to deal with it wherever it raises its head. And we have been working very hard with the Nigerian government on this, and Nigeria is an interesting example of a country that is basically 50/50 split between Christians and Muslims and therefore it would be very sad indeed if that type of tension came in there. So we are working on it and it is something I have discussed with the Nigerian President a lot.

Oyeyemi Olodo Esq., Oyeyemi Olodo Esq.,
The Integrity Magazine

Posted by Administrator at July 20, 2006 11:53 AM


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