By Onize Ohikere, World Magazine.
Religious minorities in Nigeria’s north and middle belt are battling with religious inequality as well as attacks from the insurgent group Boko Haram and nomadic Fulani herdsmen. In a report released today, the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative called on the international community to assist Nigeria with what is rapidly becoming a global crisis.
The Global Terrorism Index ranks Boko Haram the world’s most lethal terrorist group, with the nomadic Fulani militants not far behind, in fourth place. Boko Haram has killed more than 15,000 people, abducted more than 2,000, and displaced more than 2 million people internally since 2012. Human rights advocates said the extremist group’s pledge of allegiance to Islamic State last year widened the range of its threat.
“This affiliation means Boko Haram is now part of the organization’s declaration of war both against the Nigerian government and the American government,” said Frank Wolf, former U.S. representative now with the Wilberforce Initiative.
The kidnapping of schoolgirls two years ago from the predominantly Christian village of Chibok marked one of Boko Haram’s most high-profile attacks. Mary, the first mother of a missing Chibok girl to speak in the United States, said many of the parents are still suffering from the loss.
“They packed our girls, and left us with sorrow and pain,” she said.
Mary’s daughter, who was nearly 16 at the time of the kidnapping, turned 18 yesterday. Mary, who’s only using her first name to protect her family’s safety, said it was encouraging to see members of Congress join in commemorating the missing girls every Wednesday but called for more support to bring down Boko Haram.
“I want the global community to assist, please assist us in prayers and supporting the Nigerian army because they are not working on it,” she said.
21st Century Wilberforce Initiative: Stand with Nigeria