A year after President Barack Obama provided much needed military assistance to several West African nations in their fight against Boko Haram, a Donald Trump White House could withdraw its support for Nigerian government officials battling the terrorist group.
Nigerian Noble Prize winning playwright and poet Wole Soyinka said he was worried Trump’s “America first” attitude he displayed throughout his campaign could translate into a foreign policy driven by isolationist concerns. That could result in the U.S. withdrawing its support for counter-terrorism operations in West Africa, Newsweek reported Wednesday.
Boko Haram militants that mainly operate in the northern states of Nigeria have killed roughly 20,000 people and displaced more than 2 million others since 2002. The terrorist group pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State group in March 2015.
Obama provided $ 71 million worth of equipment, logistics and training to the West-African nations Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin in the fight against Boko Haram, according to a U.S. State Department report last February. After Boko Haram militants took 276 schoolgirls and women from a boarding school in Chibok, Obama sent 80 members of U.S. armed forces to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircrafts over northern Nigeria, CNN reported. Though joint negotiation efforts from the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government saw Boko Haram release 21 of the girls to officials in October, roughly 200 girls and women remain unaccounted for.
Soyinka, who is currently a scholar-in-residence at New York University’s Institute of African American Affairs, told Newsweek in an interview that he had yet to rescind his U.S. residency permit despite prior claims that he would do away with his green card if Trump were to be elected president.
“The moment they announce his victory, I will cut my green card myself and start packing up,” Soyinka told students in a speech at Oxford University in the United Kingdom in the week before the Tuesday election, Mail and Guardian Africa reported.
While Soyinka’s social media accounts were inundated with Nigerians asking if he was going to honor his pledge after Trump’s victory Wednesday, Soyinka maintained that he would wait until Trump takes office before making his next decision.
“I’m just going about my normal commitments, but definitely not getting into any more commitments. Let’s put it that way for now,” Soyinka told Newsweek.