The recent report that Mr. John Kerry, the United States Secretary of State will visit Nigeria soon to meet with President Buhari, Northern traditional rulers, and religious leaders to discuss terrorism though a good idea may be counterproductive. This is because when this is viewed from the prism of Nigeria as a multiethnic, multi-religious, and fragile nation that is going through a strong problem of ethnic divisions presently, it will seem as if the U.S. is only interested in the perspective of Northern Nigeria. We know that this conclusion may be far from the truth, but there is a potential that other ethnic groups may see it that way.
A good argument for the U.S. policy makers is that Northern Nigeria has undergone a lot of Boko Haram related terrorism, however, terrorism has also spread through a more widespread geographical space in Nigeria recently through the Fulani herdsmen. There has actually been more terror-related events from the Fulani herdsmen in the Middle belt, South-eastern and South-western Nigeria compared to Boko Haram in the recent past. On the other hand, the Niger delta region has been inundated with bombing of oil installations.
The political strategists in the U.S. embassy should be more circumspect in their provision of intelligence to the Secretary of State. It would have been more proper and balanced if Mr. Kerry is also meeting with leaders from other geopolitical zones of Nigeria and their religious leaders. It is not too late for the U.S. state department to review this and reconsider the itinerary for Mr. Kerry’s visit.