With only the Talibans in Afghanistan ahead, Boko Haram is now the second widely known perpetrator of terrorism in the world, according to a report by the United States (U.S.) government. Just last week, the U.S. State Department announced a $7 million bounty for information that will lead to the capture of the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau. And in Nigeria, there is outrage at the opposition of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to the Federal Government’s ban on the group.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday accused the ACN of trying to use the press as a subterfuge to hide its support for insurgents and to whittle the efforts by the Federal Government to end acts of terrorism in the country. The ruling party, which threw its weight behind President Goodluck Jonathan, said contrary to the claims by the ACN, no part of the presidential order proscribing terrorist groups, directly or indirectly violated any provision of the constitution or impinged on the freedom of the press in the country.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a statement on Monday described the allegation by the ACN that the order was aimed at gagging the press, as despicable and a clear indication of how far the opposition party could go to distort facts to support violence and cause disaffection among Nigerians. The PDP in Ondo State and the Niger Delta Professionals also faulted the position of the ACN. An annex to the U.S. government report on terrorism last year, just made available to The Guardian, shows that besides the Taliban in Afghanistan, Boko Haram in Nigeria had the highest number of terror attacks last year and killed also the second highest number of people.
The statistical report called ‘START’ conducted by the University of Maryland for the American government on global terrorism in 2012 has revealed that while the Talibans killed 1,842 people in 525 attacks last year, and came tops on the infamous ranking, Boko Haram came second killing 1,132 in 364 attacks. Both the Talibans and Boko Haram killed more than Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Maoists in India, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula among other global terrorist groups. Commenting, the Christian Association of Nigerian Americans (CANAN) noted that based on these statistics of the U.S. government, the refusal of the State Department to designate Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) continued to be unsettling. A statement from the group on Monday in New York said: “The statistics that were computed at the instruction of the U.S. government by a reputable university deemed a center of excellence by the U.S. government show proof why Boko Haram should be designated.” “This is a further evidence that our demand to the State Department to designate Boko Haram an FTO is a position backed up by facts and reality. Our hope and expectation is that soon, the State Department will do what is right.”
The statistical report also revealed that of the top 10 countries with the most terrorist attacks last year, Nigeria came fifth because of the activities of Boko Haram. Besides, Nigeria ranked fourth in number of deaths from terrorist attacks. According to the statistical information attached to the recent “U.S. Terrorism 2012 reports”, last year alone, there were a total number of 546 terror attacks in Nigeria with 1,386 killed.
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