Lagos â€” Lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana, has berated President Barack Obama over his speech in Ghana, saying it was a huge embarrassment to the African continent and black people.
Fielding questions from newsmen yesterday at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Falana said Obama was wrong when he said Africans should stop blaming the colonialists for slave trade and subsequent under-development that followed.
.”I watched the Obama stop over in Ghana, sentiments apart; I think it was an embarrassment for Africa that Obama only made a stop in Africa. And even at that, it was a ‘yabbis session.’ And that was not what Africans were expecting from the first black President of United States of America . He talked down on Africans. He also said, ‘you cannot blame the under-development on Africa ; you cannot just dismiss it on the basis of corruption of its leaders.’
“And I reject, in its entirety, the statement credited to Obama that we should no longer blame colonialists for slave trade. Why shouldn’t we? Incidentally, he visited the Cape Coast where you have the slave camp. And Obama almost had nothing to say there.”
Recalling the slave trade, Falana said Europeans traded on Africans for 500 years and wondered who would pay reparation for the exploitation of the continent over these years.
“For 500 years , Africans were illegally seized, they were kidnapped, through terrorist action of the Western countries and shipped to Europe and America to build those countries.
“Who is going to pay reparation for them? I thought Obama was going to talk about reparation. The Italian government has agreed to pay N5billion reparation to Libya for colonialism for 40 years. So who is going to pay us colonialism of 100 years?
“Who is going to pay Ghana And then you come around and say your problem is your problem, that is unfair. You got to solve your own problem. America must be part of the solution to our problem, because they created part of it, ” he said.
Also reacting to part of Obama’s statement where he attributed the decay in the African continent to sit-tight African leaders, Falana also said: “President Obama was in Egypt recently. Is Egypt a democratic country? President Mubarak has been in power since 1981, he was recently in Saudi Arabia , did they hold elections there? So you can’t use lack of democracy or free reign of corruption in Africa to excuse the connivance of the United States government or Western European countries, the connivance of these countries is the destruction of the economy of Africa .”
He also said fighting corruption has to be holistic and not partitioned, as it is currently being done in Nigeria.