Islamic cleric warns US against naming Boko Haram, a terrorist group

Channels Television  
Updated June 21, 2012

 The secretary general of the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Dr Lateef Adegbite, has criticised the planned naming of Boko Haram, as a terrorist organization by the American government.

He enjoined the US government to be patient with the manner in which the issue is handled, so as not to endanger the lives of some other innocent Nigerians.

The US government on Thursday, declared the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, alongside two of his lieutenants as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

The US government, however did not classify the entire group as a terrorist group.

Referring to the US, the cleric stated that “They should hasten slowly because the implication will be very serious.”

Dr Adegbite based his concern on the effect, such classification will have on Nigerians in general. “How will they know Boko Haram” he asked, adding that “if  I travel there with my beards, they can take me for what I am not” he said.

“We should appeal to them to give Nigeria more time and chance to gradually suppress them (Boko Haram) and they (security operatives) are making progress” he alluded.

He also noted that negotiations are on-going with the sect members with a ploy to “bring them back into the Nigerian fold.”

Dr Adegbite, who is also the chairman presidential committee on public awareness on security and civic responsibilities, was speaking to our state house correspondent after a meeting with the Vice-president Namadi Sambo, in the presidential villa.

Details of their meeting were not disclosed to journalists but the Islamic scholar in an answer to questions said that the issue of insecurity in the country should not be left with the federal government alone. He urged the governors to come up with programmes to address the issue of security in the country.

He called on the state governors to assist the president to curb the insurgency.

In a  statement issued by the US Department of State, Abubakar Shekau, Abubakar Adam Kambar, and Khalid al-Barnawi were named ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorists’ under Section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224, thereby blocking all of their property and interests subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

The statement also prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with or for the benefit of these individuals.