· Says Nigeria may lose out in $1bn solar power deal
President Muhammadu Buhari’s support for an independent Palestinian State forced Israel to formally recognize the agitation by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) for the creation of an independent State of Biafra, an Arab diplomat has disclosed.
The diplomat told The AUTHORITY at the weekend that Buhari’s pledge to help “our brothers and sisters in Palestine” attain independence greatly angered the Israeli government.
Buhari had in a visit last year to Qatar, promised the Emir (Head of State) Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani, that “we will stand side by side with you, until our brothers and sisters in Palestine achieve their desired objectives (independence).”
According to the diplomat, “Buhari’s meddling in the Israeli-Palestanian crisis was largely unnecessary”.
The envoy pointed out that “while Buhari keeps addressing Palestinians as ‘our brothers and sisters,’ majority of Mus
lim countries like Senegal have since softpedaled on their support for Palestinians.”
He continued: “It was not for nothing that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose to recognize Biafra at a very important ceremony like the Holocaust memorial, last April.”
“At the memorial, Netanyahu chided the world for keeping quiet and standing aside and did not prevent genocide or mass murder in Biafra, Cambodia, Rwanda, Sudan and also in Syria.”
He observed, “Netanyahu is the first Head of State of a First World country to describe the 1967-1970 war against Biafra as genocide.”
“The Israeli PM’s presence at the 51st ECOWAS summit in Liberia, the first by any Israeli leader to Africa, and the first by any non-African Head of State, coupled with the promise of a $1 billion solar power project for the region, was tailored to teach Nigeria a bitter lesson,” stressed the envoy.
He noted that Nigeria’s absence at the “very important” regional summit may have been orchestrated to avoid the embarrassment the very large Israeli delegation would have caused the country.
The envoy said: “ECOWAS countries have a combined population of about 350 million, of which Nigeria, which suffers tremendous power deficit, has about 180 million or more than half of the total population. Clearly, one would have expected such solar power plant to be sited in Nigeria, but Israel chose Liberia apparently to snub Nigeria.”
He added that Israel’s bid for reinstatement as an observer in the African Union (AU) would further injure Nigeria’s interests.
“Perhaps Nigeria should pay greater attention to Netanyahu’s forecast at the ECOWAS summit that ‘Israel is coming to Africa and Africa is coming to Israel”, advised. The envoy.
He expressed fears that with Nigeria’s decision to withhold funding of the ECOWAS may have come a whittling down of the country’s dominance in the sub-region.
“Nigeria’s influence in ECOWAS is at its lowest ebb. The country used to be the biggest financier of ECOWAS, but stopped funding the body the moment Buhari came into power. Nigeria’s indebtedness now hovers around $700,000. What did you expect? The other member countries are now forced to look elsewhere, and don’t be surprised if non-African countiries like Israel come in handy,” opined the diplomat.
He cited the recent decision of Morocco, a northern African country, to join ECOWAS as a pointer to the belief that certain countries can’t wait to take over Nigeria’s leadership role in West Africa.
“I fear that like Israel, Morocco may have a diplomatic axe to grind with Nigeria after your president (Buhari) openly declared support for the independence of Western Sahara just a few months after hosting King Mohammed VI in Abuja”.
”I don’t know the shape of your country’s foreign policy. Your president goes about canvassing support for people who seek self determination in Israel and Morocco, yet rolls out the tanks on Nigerians who express the same sentiments.