Blame Reckless Nigerian Army not Leahy law, US Senator tells Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari’s criticism of the Leahy law in the United States which impedes the sale of sophisticated arms to Nigeria’s m...

President Muhammadu Buhari’s criticism of the Leahy law in the United States which impedes the sale of sophisticated arms to Nigeria’s military in the battle against Boko Haram, has drawn a reaction from the man who inspired the law.

Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy representing Vermont since 1975 advised Buhari to direct his energies at taming the Nigerian military, which has been indicted, several times, for gross human rights violations, in the battle against Boko Haram. The Leahy law denies armies involved in such violations arms deals with the United States.

In a press statement titled: “Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) To Nigerian President Buhari’s Mis-Directed Criticism Of The Leahy Law On Human Rights”, he said: It is well documented by the State Department and by respected human rights organizations that Nigerian army personnel have, for many years, engaged in a pattern and practice of gross violations of human rights against the Nigerian people and others, including summary executions of prisoners, indiscriminate attacks against civilians, torture, forced disappearances and rape,” said Leahy in a post on his website.

“Rarely have the perpetrators been prosecuted or punished".
“This abusive conduct not only violates the laws of war, it creates fear and loathing among the Nigerian people whose support is necessary to defeat a terrorist group like Boko Haram.
“President Buhari ignores the undisputed fact that most Nigerian army units have been approved, under the Leahy Law, for US training and equipment. Only those particular units against which there is credible evidence of the most heinous crimes are ineligible for US aid. And even those units can again become eligible if the Nigerian Government takes effective steps to bring the responsible individuals to justice".

“I strongly agree with President Buhari about the need to defeat Boko Haram, and I have supported tens of millions of dollars in US aid to Nigeria for that purpose. But rather than suggest that the United States is at fault for not funding murderers and rapists in the Nigerian military, he should face up to his own responsibility to effectively counter Boko Haram. He should direct his attention to the Nigerian military, and the Nigerian courts, and clean up the units implicated in such atrocities.”

In a reaction today, President Buhari said his statement at the US Institute of Peace, has been widely misinterpreted.

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