Liberating Girls from Boko Haram: Has Nigeria played the France Card?

Abuja, Nigeria (nsnbc) – The outgoing Nigerian government of President Goodluck Jonathan and Nigerian military, backed by troops from Cameroon, Chad, and Benin, and a few Canadian troops rescued some 700 kidnapped victims from Boko Haram and dealt a severe blow to the ISIS associated insurgency. Nigeria’s use of troops from three UMEOA member States comes against the backdrop of increased continental European vs. Anglo/American tensions and evidence that supports that the U.S and other core NATO members are utilizing Boko Haram. Has Nigeria played the“France card”?

After months of captivity by suspected Boko Haram militants, ex-hostages arrive at Cameroon's Yaounde Nsimalen International Airport. Articles liés in 2014. Image Source: VOA

After months of captivity by suspected Boko Haram militants, ex-hostages arrive at Cameroon’s Yaounde Nsimalen International Airport.
Articles liés in 2014.
Image Source: VOA

Circumventing the United States, the United Kingdom and the UN Security Council, the government of the outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan forged the military alliance that resulted in the liberation of some 700 kidnapped persons, including a large number of kidnapped girls from Boko Haram and a severe blow to the insurgents in a number of well-coordinated operations.

The now ISIS associated Boko Haram began its insurgency a little more than five years ago, as Nigerian oil concessions became of increased strategic relevance for the United States and the United Kingdom.

Evidence, emerging from NATO member Turkey in 2014 strongly suggests that Turkey’s intelligence service MIT and Turkish Airlines officials were involved in Turkish and arguably US/NATO arms trafficking to the insurgents.

More precisely, it was the release of a clandestine recording of a phone conversation between Mustafa Varank, who has close ties to Turkey’s AKP government and Turkey’s intelligence service MIT and a Turkish Airlines official, that blew the cover off the arms trafficking operation.

Although information is sketchy, a Nigerian source informed nsnbc that networks around the outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan, the newly elected President Mahmmandu Buhari and select, anti-American top military brass joined forces in the move, using France as intermediary.

 

Although France and the United States do cooperate with regards to Africa, France and the USA are also key regional rivals. Arguably, playing the France card, that is the UMEOA card against the covertly U.S./NATO-backed Boko Haram would imply prudence as much as it implies a Faustian pact.

France has virtually absolute control over the economies of its former colonies Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, the Republic of Congo, Senegal and Togo via the UMEOA. The result of the French Africa policy is that one of the world’s most resource rich and fertile regions with a colossal potential and need for development remains catastrophically under-developed, indebted to France, plagued by French-backed coup d´etat and poverty.

Nigeria, for its part, is in a similar situation. Emma Christopher, an expert on slavery and human trafficking, stressed that tens of thousands of people are bought and sold in Nigeria every year. The majority of them are children. Christopher is referring to the International Labour Organization which estimated that in 2003, as many as six million Nigerian children had been trafficked at some time in their lives. Many males who remain in Nigeria are forced by insurgents to work in mines. Many of the females are forced into prostitution, servicing the enslaved miners.

The NGO Free the Slaves estimates that 1.6 billion dollar in profit derives from African and Middle Eastern slavery per year. Christopher adds, that this amount is greater than the combined GDP of eight African countries in 2013. The mass kidnappings and Boko Haram are, in other words, benefiting the cause of colonialism.

Christopher stressed that around 40% of the world’s chocolate comes from cocoa produced in the Ivory Coast and that children from across West Africa are trafficked to work there: there is no guarantee that those children have not grown the chocolate you enjoy.

What Christopher doesn’t address in her article is that core NATO member France engineered the 2010 coup d’état against Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo who was about to end the French usurpation of the country and with it the usurpation of the other UMEOA member states.

Playing the USA/UK vs. France in Nigeria could suggest a strike of geopolitical and strategic genius, especially at a time when US/UK and continental European relations suffered a significant setback over the primarily US/UK-driven aggression in Ukraine, and at a time where Nigeria is in a position to re-structure its domestic and regional policies.

Inviting troops from Chad, which have a reputation for being at the vanguard of French modo-colonialist control may, however, also be a Faustian pact. That is, unless Nigeria finally learned how to play the game of geopolitics against modo-colonialism and emerges as the tertius gaudens.

Author: Christof Lehmann

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