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Biden appoints official who sanctioned Bokoharam as US deputy AG


The make up of the Biden administration whose election result was sealed this week has continued to hold good news for Nigeria relations.

Just yesterday, President-elect Biden announced Lisa Monaco as Deputy Attorney General of the United State.

Ms Monaco was the most visible US official who fought for the designation of Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization during the Obama administration. I can firmly say she was our champion on the inside.

According to media reports then, while “top US diplomat for Africa Johnnie Carson said Boko Haram exploited popular discontent in northern Nigeria, and the government needed to tackle the political and economic grievances of the mainly Muslim population in the region…Lisa Monaco – now the chief counter-terrorism adviser to President Barack Obama – sent a letter to the state department saying Boko Haram met the criteria to be listed as a “foreign terrorist” group because, she said, it either engages in terrorism that threatens the US or has a capability or intent to do so.”

We had submitted a 75 page brief to Secretary of State Clinton to designate Boko Haram an FTO as civil society human rights advocate but Ms Monaco’s letter as a US official gave us the much needed boost of an inside voice amplifying our concerns.

However, although others like Assistant Secretary of State Johnny Carson merely acknowledged “reports of contact and growing relationships between elements of Boko Haram and other extremists in Africa, including al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb” but failed to act even after the August 2011 attack on a UN building in Nigeria, that affected an American, Ms Monaco stayed true to her conscience and the facts.

It is not known if she was aware of the American who was in the UN building at the time Boko Haram bombed it in Abuja (although she certainly should have being at the FBI then) but despite the State Department’s cover up, she courageously took a stand against 20 American academics led by former US ambassador Campbell, for the sanctioning of Boko Haram.

After Ms Monaco moved to the White House as Chief Counter Terrorism Adviser to President Obama in his final term, and with the replacement of Secretary Clinton and Assistant Secretary Carson by Secretary Kerry and Assistant Secretary Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the FTO designation of Boko Haram finally occurred.

It is noteworthy that all the top Obama officials who oversaw the policy change to the Boko Haram FTO designation have been given appointments by Biden.

Former Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Linda Thomas Greenfield has been named Biden’s UN Ambassador, former Secretary of State Kerry named Special Envoy on Environment and now ex-Chief Counter Terrorism Adviser Lisa Monaco as Deputy Attorney General.

This is a vindication of all these officials stance in doing the right thing in 2013 but it is also an indication that Biden is utilizing the better half of the Obama era.

They come in with a keener appreciation of the mistakes and mis-starts of the past and better oriented for the present and future of US Nigeria bilateral affairs.

This is a continuing pattern of good fortune for Nigeria following the nomination of Wale Adeyemo as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.

Ironically Trump’s ethically-challenged Treasury Secretary blocked the second term of esteemed Nigerian Dr Adesina as President of ADB.

However Adesina won re-election with the highest votes in the history of ADB
but Trump lost re-election and so his Treasury Secretary has automatically lost that position.

Biden has now appointed a Nigerian as the Deputy Treasury Secretary (equivalent of Minister of State for Finance) of the largest economy in the world.

Nigerian immigrant Adewale from the Yoruba tribe like Adesina is the first black to hold this position in the same office that was used to sabotage another great son of Nigeria – just like Mordecai replaced Haman in the story of Esther!

We wish them success in their respective tenures.


The fact that it is even a debate whether or not to sanction Trump is in itself a perfect illustration of white privilege – a privilege that is not afforded the black man or boy who is killed on arrival.

But let’s not just illustrate it with a nameless black male.
I dare say that if President Obama had done 1% of what Trump did, he would have been hung, drawn and quartered. Indeed, Obama gave 20 million Americans healthcare and he still hasn’t been forgiven for that!

America must not run one country two systems like Nigeria where certain regions and religions are above the law.

Trump instigated post-election violence just like Buhari did and must face the rule of law to distinguish America from Nigeria.

Emmanuel Ogebe

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