Kenya attack: GEJ’s anti-terrorism offer sparks anger among Nigerians


Remarks by President Goodluck Jonathan assuring Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, and the citizens that the Nigerian Government will help avert a recurrence of terrorist attack has sparked public outrage.

Members of the Al-Shabaab militant group had, on Saturday, laid siege to Westgate Mall, an upscale shopping centre in Nairobi, popular with Kenyan elite and foreigners, killing 68 people, including Kenyatta’s nephew and his fiancée; Ghanaian poet, 78-year-old Kofi Awoonor, and injuring over 150.
A standoff had ensued between the Kenyan security forces and the attackers, who were reported to be heavily armed and holding an unknown number of hostages in the mall.

While commiserating with the Kenyan government, Jonathan said in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, that “the Federal Government will give all possible support and assistance to Kenya in its efforts to contain the scourge of terrorism and avoid a recurrence of yesterday’s (Saturday’s) heinous attack on Nairobi.”
But many Nigerians who caught up with the President’s message online say he “should mind his business” and preoccupy his government with putting an end to the extremism and security challenges posed by Boko Haram in his backyard, before offering to help contain and defeat terrorism abroad.

A cross section of Nigerians who criticised the President quoted the popular saying that “charity begins at home.”  They asked Jonathan not to contemplate sending soldiers abroad; with many arguing that it will amount to a misplacement of priority.

A Facebook user, Oludare Olufote, urged the Kenyan government to reject Jonathan’s offer of assistance, saying he was only trying to depict himself as a true African leader.
“Candid advice to Kenya: Combat terrorism with your efforts, combined with other strong nations, not Nigeria. Our President is only trying to make himself a true African leader, which he is. But the question is, what will become the story of a man whose house is in a shambles and looks into putting orderliness in a neighbour’s house?” Olufote argues.
Solomon Idoko describes Jonathan’s statement as an absurdity. “Absurdity or what?  Anti-terrorism assistance to Kenya!  Jonathan can see the speck in his brother’s eye, but he is unable to notice the log in his own eye. I think we should start praying for the leadership of this nation,” Idoko wrote on Facebook.

But some Nigerians felt that the President might be planning to secretly deploy troops to the East African nation to fight the al-Shabaab militants. They, however, warned him against taking such a decision.
One Joseph Ubiagba says, “The Federal Government must not let Nigerians lose their temper. We have terrorists all over the place in this country and you cannot check them. They are killing and maiming Nigerians almost on a daily basis.
 “I hope you people have conscience. People who have conscience won’t talk like that. The day you people remove one kobo to go and fight terrorists in Kenya, the almighty God will visit you people with his anger as has never been seen before.”

On nairaland.com, a respondent with the name Lerteee writes, “The fear of al-Shaabab should be the beginning of wisdom. Uncle Jona, abeg, Boko Haram, Ombatse and Niger Delta boys don do us. Please and please, don’t allow these militants to visit Nigeria; they are deadlier. Why, in the first place, did they attack Kenya? I guess it is for the same reason that Kenya interfered in Somalia’s business. Nigeria has too much trouble already.”

Meanwhile, President Jonathan was also rebuked for allegedly leading a life different from his words. According to some online commentators, the Kenyan President appeared more serious with the fight against terrorism than his Nigerian counterpart.

Another respondent on nairaland.com, Balla Briggs, says, “You see, the situation in Kenya now is that about 68 people have been killed. In one week in Nigeria, we have lost close to 68 people too. Have you seen the Kenyan President voice over our situation? No, because he has his own mess to deal with.

“President Jonathan has not even spoken about the killings in Nigeria in the last week, yet he deems it fit to put his mouth in Kenya’s palaver. This is a joke of a leader. The Kenyan President rightly cancelled his trip to the UN General Assembly because he recognised there was a problem. Yet, President Jonathan who lost over 68 people to Ombatse, Apo and Boko Haram killings has travelled to New York City for the UN meeting.”



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