… People worry about its real intentions
SAN FRANCISCO, July 8, (THEWILL) – An American firm, Creative Associates International (CAI), involved in the outsourcing of contracts on behalf of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is currently covertly involved in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents in the North Eastern part of the country through the digging of trenches in the Boko Haram ravaged parts of Borno and Yobe States.
Subsumed under the name of North-East Regional Initiative (NERI) and it’s activities categorized to be under the Nigeria-Lake Chad Basin (NLCB) project, the company recently closed shop abruptly in Adamawa State, where it felt that its covert goal of combating the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) is not being met.
However, in Borno for instance, it has expended about $358,724 between December 2018 till April 2019 on digging trenches in Monguno, Kareto and Gubio respectively, according to checks by THEWILL.
Although it does not conceal its activities to the Nigerian military, which takes possession of the trenches once built, and the Borno state government, the propriety of its real intention comes under question considering its past activity in Cuba where it tried to instigate the youths of the country against the government.
Under the guise of combating ISWAP, a deliberate policy thrust captured in the USG African Strategy (2018), this act violates the constitutional provisions of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended).
The USG foreign policy priorities as regards Nigeria, as captured in the document, is that the latter’s ‘stability and security directly impacts US national interests’ of countering ISIS and violent conflict.”
According to NERI Chief of Party, Olivier Girard, at a pre-inaugural private meeting with Borno state governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, “some recent undertakings of the NLCB/NERI programme,” include “… the trenching work in several towns across Borno state…”
The backlash of this undertaking is that ISWAP is irked by this covert operation and is fighting back. According to an NLCB Bi-weekly report of April 12, 2019, “ISWA burnt six road construction caterpillars on their way to Maiduguri from Damaturu.
“… This action may be in response to NLCB”s trench digging activities to protect civilian population in program locations in Northeastern Nigeria,” the document reveals.
Although the manifest intent of CAI may be lofty in its outlook, its antecedent in Cuba, where it attempted for two years to infiltrate and instigate the youths against the government, leaves its record tainted and what is doing now as subject to questions.
The Guardian UK had reported that the Cuban episode “is laid out in documents involving Creative Associates International, a Washington contractor paid millions of dollars to undermine the Cuban government. The thousands of pages include contracts, emails, preserved chats, budgets, expense reports, power points, photographs and passports.
“The work included the creation of a “Cuban Twitter” social network and the dispatch of inexperienced Latin American youth to recruit activists, operations that were the focus of previous revelations,” the paper added.