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Mary Jane Mphahlele
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The US not helping Nigeria but itself

05 June 2014, 05:00

In most circumstances when we speak of an emerging relation between the U.S and Africa, immediately what comes to mind is colonialism and securing of interests. Whenever the US offers help to African countries, instantaneously there’s a presupposition that they’re not doing it for free but to secure interests in Africa.

Given the African history with regard to colonialism from the first British occupation in the Cape, on every occasion western countries become involved in African affairs, there is a need for wariness.

In recent years, analysts and policy makers have noted the interest of U.S in Africa, being its interest such as Africa’s natural resources, particularly energy resources, mounting concern over violent extremist activities and other potential threats posed by uncontrolled spaces, such as piracy and illicit trafficking. In addition, there is ongoing concern for Africa's many humanitarian crises, armed conflicts, and more general challenges, such as the devastating effect of HIV/AIDS.

In the past weeks, there has been a trending hashtag on social media #BringBackOurGirls. This was formed as a result of Nigerian Christian girls being abducted by terrorist group Boko Haram. It is reported that this Islamic group is holding more than 200 Nigerian girls whom they snatched from their school last month. It is said that the Islamic militant are forcing Nigerian girls to convert to Islam.

Now, the U.S wants to extend their helping hand by sending military, intelligence and law enforcement advisors to Nigeria. The team will share U.S. intelligence and provide investigative help, not military force, in the search for the students, who were kidnapped April 14.

The question is that, is this humanitarian interventions or are they assisting Nigeria to colonize it? The U.S has invaded many African countries in the name of helping them. Of course the US doesn’t just help without interests. They're involved in Algeria and Angola, Benin and Botswana, Burkina Faso and Burundi, Cameroon and the Cape Verde Islands. And that's just the ABCs of the situation.

Skip to the end of the alphabet and the story remains the same: Senegal and the Seychelles, Togo and Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. From north to south, east to west, the Horn of Africa to the Sahel, the heart of the continent to the islands off its coasts, the US military is at work.

The obvious evident reason here it’s simply U.S. and EU military involvement in Africa is designed to secure western imperialist dominance over the oil, diamonds, gold and uranium that exist in abundance in both the CAR and South Sudan.

These western states are creating the conditions for the deterioration of the societies involved, and consequently through their false propaganda about humanitarian assistance, will only provide a further rationale for an even heavier military occupation. The US military involvement in our continent ranges from miniscule to the microscopic.

Our hashtags on social media about bringing back our girls back have the US dancing. Of course the US is capable of helping Nigeria find their girls. It being in the top five of the most powerful military force in the world speaks volume. With annual defense budget of $515 000 000 000 military personnel and 1 385 000 population reaching military age annually. In addition they have 4266 128 fighter jets with 1600 navy ships and a purchasing power of $13 780 000 000 00.

Accepting their recent offer to intervene in African matters, will not mean getting back our girls but also giving them legitimacy to encroach and grow their military presence in Africa. It is also not certain that countenancing them to intercede in our matters will bring back our girls. The involvement of the US government and military will only lead to more militarism, less oversight, and less democracy.

A year ago the US offered to help Congo in finding Kony who was reported to be committing human rights violation crimes. Obama sent 100 combat-equipped troops to capture or kill Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony in Central Africa .Did they capture him? No they didn’t, the only thing they achieved was undue credit.

The Africom, which is body for overseeing US military operations in their oversea “colonies” benefited from KONY2012 and surely will gain more from BringBackOurGirls. It should be also kept in mind that the Africom’s mission is to advance US national security interests. If the US is in this help those missing girls, should we forget that it has a history of committing mass atrocities against the Nigerian people?

In Africa what we prerequisite now apart from US aid and military intervention is a political, economic and political union. As long as Africa vestiges comparatively independent of Western meddling for the last five hundred years, Africa has been routinely exploited by the western world, longer if you include the Middle East.

Africa serves now as a Western colony, in definition and in practice.

A colony is a place established as a cheap source of natural resources, land and labor by a parent country, exactly what our continent is. We have Britain in Nigeria and Kenya, France in Algeria and Mali, Belgium in the Congo and Rwanda and so on. The only way Africa can stop being a Euro-American colony is to have the power to refuse the demands of foreign corporations and to place the interests of the 99% above those of the 1%.

Why can’t African countries come together and work out a way forward to find these missing girls? Africa can’t be that incapable.

A political, military and economic African union could provide the strength and cohesiveness needed to solve Africa's many problems.

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