According to ABC News and the Daily Beast, the Obama administration failed to reply to requests by lobbying firm Patton Boggs, on behalf of the Nigerian government, for intelligence information and aid to help fight the militant Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram.
Almost a month has passed since Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram abducted over 300 Nigerian schoolgirls from their private boarding school. Many believe the girls are being held captive in the Sambisa Forest, a territorial stronghold for the Boko Haram insurgents. Other reports have suggested the possibility that many of the abducted girls were taken across Nigeria’s border into Chad and Cameroon and sold into forced marriage.
The revelation comes as many in the administration have blamed the Nigerian government for their rationale behind why the United States government was tardy in designating Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday:
The [Nigerian] government had its own set of strategies, if you will, and you can offer and talk, but you can’t do [anything] if a government has its own sense of how it’s proceeding. I think now the complications that have arisen have convinced everybody that there needs to be a greater effort.
Two months prior to Boko Haram’s FTO designation, the Nigerian government reportedly reached a three million dollar agreement with lobbying firm Patton Boggs. According to U.S. Justice Department documents, the contract was enacted to “provide comprehensive security advice, including the donation of excess military and law enforcement equipment.”
Patton Boggs assigned retired Marine Colonel John Garrett to represent Nigeria’s requests.
According to the ABC News report:
On behalf of Nigerian National Security Adviser Muhammadu Sambo Dasuki, Garrett requested information on Boko Haram activities derived from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance overflights of northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state. Patton Boggs also asked for non-lethal protective hardware to be donated to Nigeria such as mine-resistant armored personnel vehicles, night vision goggles and communications equipment from Iraq and Afghanistan stockpiles left over from U.S. withdrawals from those warzones.
After Col. Garrett’s request went unnoticed, he reached out again on April 28. Col. Garrett was again denied a response.
“To date I have not received a decisive response to our requests, but we continue to work on these vital requirements for the office of the national security adviser of the government of Nigeria,” Garrett told ABC News.