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Nigeria Is Master Of Its Own Fate

Nigeria's new acting president and commander in chief Goodluck Jonathan is pictured as he takes office in Abuja, 10 Feb 2010

One thing the United States does not intend to do is intervene in Nigeria's domestic affairs.

Nigeria's leaders have made great progress in recent weeks to ease the political crisis and fears of instability following the health problems that have caused President Umaru Yar'Adua to step aside.

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has taken steps to name a new cabinet, pushed stalled electoral reforms, anti-corruption efforts and peace outreach to dissidents in the Niger Delta region. The United States applauds these positive moves to restore confidence in the country's political system while adhering to democratic principles.

One thing the United States does not intend to do is intervene in Nigeria's domestic affairs. The Nigerian Compass, a newspaper published in Isheri, Ogun State, has erroneously reported that President Barack Obama is preparing U.S. troops to take action in Nigeria in the event that the political situation there spins out of control, creating chaos and threatening the nation's oil production.

Attention was focused on the U.S. African Command, a military group that conducts training exercises with several nations and provides other forms of support. The command, also known as AFRICOM, was reported to have been put on the highest form of alert to respond to possible problems in Nigeria. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

AFRICOM's commander has issued no such orders. The command in fact has no assigned forces to put on alert, being headquartered in Germany and borrowing troops from other units for specific training missions.

As a longtime friend of Nigeria and the Nigerian people, the United States has legitimate concerns about the political situation there. It is the height of irresponsibility to suggest that expression of such concerns would form the basis for military intervention. None is needed. Nigeria is moving on from its political crisis and master of its own fate.