Opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) may have come under the spotlight of the British government over allegations that it has links with the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist group. Feelers from the British parliament gave this indication at the weekend.
Reports had it that the United Kingdom (UK)’s Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (otherwise known as foreign secretary), Mr William Hague, was, last week, questioned by an influential member of the British parliament, Mr Andrew Rosindell, on the UK’s engagement with the APC over the Boko Haram problem confronting Nigeria.
Information pieced together by Sunday Tribune from the website of the British parliament, www.parliament.uk, indicated that Rosindell, a conservative representing Romford, listed numerous questions regarding terrorism in Nigeria and some other affected countries of the Commonwealth for the foreign sectary, under “notices for written answers” section of the House of Commons Business Paper.
Some of the questions Rosindell, who is also a member of Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, want Hague to answer, according to the Business Paper, are: “To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the rise of Islamic terrorism in Northern Iraq.
“To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the rise in Islamic terrorism in Nigeria. (204387)
“To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support his Department plans to offer to Nigeria in tackling the threat of Boko Haram.
“To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of links between Boko Haram and other Islamic extremist groups in Africa.
“To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will discuss with his counterpart in Cameroon the need for constructive dialogue between that country and Nigeria in tackling Boko Haram; and if he will make a statement.
“To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his US counterpart on tackling the threat from Islamic extremism in Northern Africa.
“To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions (a) he and (b) other Ministers in his Department have had with leading members of the Nigerian opposition party, the All Progressives Congress; and if he will make a statement.
“ To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will commission an inquiry into the international support network for Boko Haram in Nigeria and Cameroon; and if he will make a statement.”
Reports added that the development came after a debate in the parliament in which a Labour member, Sandra Osborne asked the House to examine allegations of links between APC and the insurgents.
It was also noted that increasing questioning of the government of the UK by legislators over the issue may force an enquiry into the allegations.
Sunday Tribune also learnt that at a recent meeting of the parliamentarians, led by Henry Jackson Society and chaired by John Glen, who is a close adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron, similar allegations were raised that key APC members were supporters and financiers of Boko Haram “for ideological and political means.”
The UK is now said to be showing more interest in the Boko Haram menace, especially after the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls in April.
Hague, at an international summit on rape in warzones held in London in June, was said to have reaffirmed the UK’s “strong and united commitment to defeat Boko Haram and to end the scourge of terrorism in Nigeria.”
When newsmen contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for reaction, he said the party was still studying the development, adding that it would react to the allegations appropriately in due course.