• Monday, May 27, 2024
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Nigerians face deadlier security concerns than Coronavirus

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Nigeria’s attention may have rightly shifted to how to contain spread of the novel Coronavirus pandemic away from a deadlier security concern in the country that has claimed tens of thousands of Nigerian lives.

In 2018, radicalised Fulani militants killed 2, 040 people according to the 2019 Global Terrorism Index, making this conflict six times deadlier than Boko Haram insurgencies in the same year.

Silentslaughternigeria.com, a newly launched website dedicated to creating increased awareness about this danger said “attacks by Fulani militants on local farming communities have become a major security question with potential global humanitarian repercussions: human trafficking, mass immigration and human rights violations.”

An organised, coordinated action plan is required to stabilise the country and ultimately bring peace to Nigeria, promoters of the website said.

This escalating violence in Nigeria has raised security concerns in the United States and throughout the world. To advance awareness regarding this existential threat to Nigerians, the International Organisation for Peace Building and Social Justice (PSJ) convened global partners in Washington, D.C. to ask for help in bringing peace to Nigeria.

The group met with key policymakers in the week ending March 20, to ask for support and launched a global awareness campaign in the U.S., including the silentslaughternigeria.com as campaign tool.

They met with key policymakers, including: Mike Pompeo, United States secretary of state; Sam Brownback, ambassador at large for International Religious Freedom and Morse Tan, ambassador at large for Global Criminal Justice, among others.

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“We are very pleased by the response from U.S. policymakers. At all levels, there is deep and genuine concern for the Nigerian people and how their plight impacts U.S. national and global security,” said Richard Ikiebe, co-founder, PSJ. “My sense is that it is not a matter of whether the U.S. government will take action on this; it’s a matter of when and to what degree.”

With Ikiebe in Washington D.C. were Abdallah Baikie, a retired major in the Nigerian Army, of PSJ; Stephen S. Enada, president and cofounder of the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON); Kyle Abts, co-founder of ICON; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC); and the Reverend Johnnie Moore, President of the Congress of Christian Leaders (CCL); among others.

“We are incredibly grateful to U.S. policymakers for their time and attention to this crisis,” said Enada. “The Trump Administration named Nigeria a Country of Particular Concern in December, sending a strong signal that our government will not stand for these abuses. With violence escalating and civil unrest at an all-time high, there is more that needs to be done. Now is the time to act.”

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies estimated that by January of this year, more than 60,000 people would have been killed since 2001 in herder and farmer-related violence in Nigeria.

Thousands have been injured in the attacks, and hundreds of women have been kidnapped. The conflict has caused large-scale displacement (300,000 people were displaced in 2018) and a high poverty rate. Radicalised Fulani militants have burnt down countless homes and churches and seized large swathes of property.

 

STEPHEN ONYEKWELU