News / Africa

    Nigerian Ambassador Mad at McCain

    The Bring Back Our Girls campaign to free kidnapped school children has brought a political love/hate affair to the Nigerian Embassy in Washington.
     
    The Obama administration dispatched a small contingent of troops to nearby Chad to support a reconnaissance mission in the search for the girls in Nigeria. First lady Michelle Obama was prominently photographed holding a “#Bring Back Our Girls” sign.
     
    “But in all this show of friendship and support by an incredibly compassionate American nation, Senator John McCain has been a sad footnote,” Nigeria’s Ambassador Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye said in a speech several weeks ago.

     
    Sen. John McCain speaks during a forum with veterans in Phoenix, Arizona, May 9, 2014.Sen. John McCain speaks during a forum with veterans in Phoenix, Arizona, May 9, 2014.
    x
    Sen. John McCain speaks during a forum with veterans in Phoenix, Arizona, May 9, 2014.
    Sen. John McCain speaks during a forum with veterans in Phoenix, Arizona, May 9, 2014.
    Republican Senator McCain’s comments in pushing for strong U.S. intervention to end the standoff with the girls’ Islamist Boko Haram captors aroused Adefuye’s ire.
     
    Nigeria’s top Washington diplomat delivered a very unusual personal attack on the American lawmaker - to the point of saying how divine “providence” spared McCain from becoming president in 2008.
     
    McCain’s office said the senator is passionate about helping to get the girls freed.
     
    “Senator McCain notes with great sorrow that the hundreds of Nigerian girls remain missing,” said McCain spokeswoman Rachael Dean. “He still strongly believes the U.S. should do whatever it can to bring the girls home.”
     
    The genesis of the controversy stems from McCain’s comment in The Daily Beast when the kidnapping story gained traction last month.
     
    The Arizona senator said that a U.S. rescue attempt for the girls should come without necessarily waiting for permission from Nigeria’s president, whom he referred to as “some guy named Goodluck Jonathan.”
     
    Others have criticized the Nigerian government’s efforts to free the girls as being late and poorly executed. The embassy has been the site of protests calling for Nigerian better government action.
     
    Nigerian Ambassador Adefuye said McCain has gone too far.
     
    “The ranking Arizona Senator and former Republican presidential candidate has inexplicably seized on the pain of a distressed nation not only to show contempt to our country but also denigrate the office and person of His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Adefuye said in a recent speech in Washington.
     
    “One wonders what could have happened if the 2008 elections have gone the other way and McCain became the President of the most powerful nation in the world,” Adefuye said. “The good Lord has a better plan for the people of the world.”
     
    The ambassador also offered to set McCain straight on the Boko Haram abduction issue.
     
    “We will like to call on his well paid staff to brief him properly on Nigeria and accord our country as well as the Office of the President the respect they deserve,” Adefuye said.
     
    The ambassador’s comments on McCain were eventually dropped from the front page of the embassy website.
     
    The embassy is also warning Americans about fraudulent fund-raising schemes related to the girls’ kidnapping.
     
    The embassy said scammers have sought to collect money “under the pretense of working in collaboration with the Embassy in solidarity with the adopted Nigerian girls.”
     
    Asked about the issue, an embassy spokesman said the embassy has received calls from Americans curious about the fake fundraising endorsement. He urged prospective donors to investigate purported charities before they send money.

    Lee Michael Katz

    Lee Michael Katz is an award-winning journalist, analyst and author.

    Currently a prominent freelance writer, Katz is the former Senior Diplomatic Correspondent of USA Today and International Editor of UPI News Service.He has reported from more than 60 countries.  Katz’s expertise includes foreign policy and diplomacy, peace talks, national security, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction policy, foundation grants, business and financial topics.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.