The conflict: thousands
have been killed; hundreds of thousands more displaced
The silence: from the Nigerian
government, limited to no local and international press, no public
religious, ethnic, environmental, political, and geographical elements – misrepresented
as a simple “local land dispute”
In Nigeria, 60,000 people have
been brutally killed since 2001. Radicalized extremists, such as Boko Haram and
Fulani militants, are carrying out a bloody campaign against the poor and rural
populations, who are predominantly Christian.
It’s time to stop this silent
FOR A RALLYING CALL
1. Fulani militants are 6 times deadlier
than Boko Haram
The 2019 Global Terrorism
Index states that 2,040 people were killed by radicalized Fulani militants in
2018 alone. That makes this conflict six times deadlier than Boko Haram’s
insurgencies in the same year.
2. Indifference is not an option
Nigeria faces an extreme risk
of civil unrest in 2020. The attacks by Fulani militants on local farming
communities are a major security concern with potential global humanitarian
repercussions like human trafficking, forced mass immigration, and major human
We need an organized,
coordinated action plan to give a voice to the voiceless, to stabilize the
country, and ultimately, to bring peace to Nigeria. Indifference is no longer an
3. Urge the authorities to act
It’s time to join us in our
movement for justice. We are calling on our local governments to put pressure
on the Nigerian government to take action. They must work to stop the
escalating violence and put an end to this silent slaughter–once and for
Frequently Asked Questions
How did the conflict start?
The Fulani population is
mostly Muslim and represents the world’s largest nomadic herding group. They are
dispersed across West Africa, but in Nigeria, the Fulani are mainly
concentrated in the northern states, with a strong tradition of migrating from
one area to another.
While conflict over land-use
has occurred for years, in the last ten years specifically, it has been
exacerbated by radicalized religious undercurrents, as well as environmental
factors like drought and climate change.
While Christians are not the
only victims of these atrocities, the estimates of Christian victims are
- 88% of Fulani attack victims in Nigeria’s Benue State were Christians
- 75% of victims in Nasarawa State were Christians
- 70% of victims in Taraba State were Christians
What is the magnitude of the slaughter happening in Nigeria?
In 2018, the U.S. Department
of Defense’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies estimated that by January of 2020,
more than 60,000 people had died 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 led to large-scale
displacement–300,000 people were displaced in 2018 alone–and a high poverty
rate. Radicalized Fulani militants have burnt down countless homes and churches
and seized large swathes of property. With 2,040 people killed in 2018, this
conflict has become Nigeria’s most serious security challenge. The global
humanitarian repercussions that will follow are yet to be seen.
Why doesn’t the Nigerian government stop the bloodshed?
President Buhari’s administration has remained silent so far about the slaughter of thousands of religious minorities in Nigeria. A vast majority of them are undeniably Christian. The persistent silence from the Buhari government is further encouragement to Fulani militants to pillage and occupy land but also to kill anyone who resists. The government’s response to most incidents reinforces the Fulani as a group of attackers without criminal repercussions.
How can you help us raise awareness?
We must put pressure on the Nigerian government to break the silence, but we need your help to spread the word. Please support our mission by signing the petition and sharing it with everyone on social media. Let’s speak up for the people of Nigeria.
Sign the petition demanding President Muhammadu Buhari take concrete action. Let’s put an end to this silent slaughter.
Thomas Jefferson wrote what he considered to be the greatest accomplishments of his life, the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom in 1777, where he said people have a “natural right” to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences. James Madison would use this statute as a model while drafting the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The sentiment carried forward nearly two centuries later, when Religious Freedom Day was first proclaimed in January 1993. Past presidents have used this occasion to ask Americans to take time to reflect and to remember the rights they enjoy by living in a country where they can worship freely.
Last year, President Trump broadened the discussion, using the occasion to call attention to all those suffering at the hand of religious persecution around the globe. He was right to do so. The harsh truth is that mass violence and religious conflict continue at an alarming rate. As Religious Freedom Day 2020 passes, we are reminded that countries like Nigeria, Iran and Afghanistan need strong action taken against the terrorist groups committing this violence if the persecution is to stop.
I have spent more than two decades working on projects to address these issues in Nigeria, specifically. While the country rarely makes international headlines, Nigeria ranks highest in religion-related social hostilities among the 25 most populous countries in the world. The unfortunate truth is that for far too long, too little has been done to address the escalating violence, which is playing out along in ethnic and religious fault lines. The result has been a state lacking a swift and consistent response on Boko Haram. The same can be said for policies around violence in the Middle Belt from Fulani extremists.
As a result, since 2015, the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust estimates that more than 6,000 Christians have been killed in Nigeria (1,000 in 2019 alone) and as many as 12,000 more have been displaced from their homes. In July of last year, the Jubilee Campaign, an international human rights nongovernmental organization, wrote a report to the International Criminal Court stating that “the standard of genocide has now been reached” in Nigeria.
Douglas Burton, a former State Department official who publishes news investigations of terrorism in Nigeria recently described the slaughter of Christians in Nigeria as the former Congressman Frank Wolf has described it: “a genocidal crisis of our age.”
The true extent of the ripple effect of the mass killings taking place at the hands of the terrorist organizations responsible, including humanitarian issues, human trafficking and economic strife in the region, among others, may never be captured in simple statistics. There too much, it goes too far and too deep to capture everything. That’s why action is so critical. That, and inaction against these terrorist groups only embolden them to take more extreme actions.
Religion is central to how Nigerians understand themselves. As such, the meaningful protection of religious rights — through the rule of law and inclusive governance — will be critical for long-term stability in Nigeria.
We can certainly understand that.
As a nation founded by those fleeing persecution, religious freedom is not just an essential government decree we enjoy. It’s woven into our very nature that was passed down to us by our colonial ancestors. It’s an idea Americans have fought fervently for at home and abroad for centuries.
As Americans we know religious freedom is an inalienable right given to every man no matter nationality. It’s time that we as a country take a stand and hold these radical groups accountable for their crimes against mankind and end the violence happening in countries like Nigeria.
African Victims of Persecution to Hold Prayer Vigil and
Rally at Capitol Saturday
Washington, DC – As prayer
activists plan a vigil at the Capitol for a Nigerian kidnap victim, lawmakers move
to pressure the government of Nigeria to act.
of Leah Sharibu, the schoolgirl who refused recant her faith to Boko Haram
terrorists in 2017, will gather at the Grant Memorial on the West face of the
Capitol on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
petition to President Muhammadu Buhari signed by three U.S. Senators and 11
Congressmen was released Wednesday. The letter thanks the government of Nigeria
for its efforts to gain the release of all the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko
Haram in February of 2017 but asks the president to do more.
United State and Nigeria maintain a strategic relationship critical to both our
interests and is built on mutual values which cannot be reconciled with Leah’s
ongoing imprisonment,” according to the letter. “We respectfully urge your
administration to use the full extent of your power to secure Leah’s safe
return.” Signers included Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Benjamin Cardin;
Congressmen who signed included Gus Bilirakis; Christopher Smith; Doug Lamborn,
Vickey Hartzler, Louie Gohmert, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Daniel Lipinski, Jamie
Raskin, Sheila Jackson Lee, Juan Vargas and Chrissy Houlahan.
“Both Tony Perkins and Sen. Cruz said they were committed to keeping Leah’s
release in the forefront of their mission, and we will see many other senators
and congressmen join the letter as signers,” according to Faith McDonnel, an
executive of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, who attended the meeting.
“This letter is a great start!”
International Committee on Nigeria welcomes the growing advocacy on Capitol
Hill for the release of Leah Sharibu and other schoolgirls kidnapped by
Nigerian terrorists, and there is great hope stirring that the hundreds of
thousands of Nigerian emigres in the United States are starting to speak up,”
says Kyle Abts, co-founder of ICON and a sponsor of the rally Saturday. “It is
encouraging that the current Administration is forward leaning on religious
freedom in Nigeria,” Abts added.
mother of Leah Sharibu, along with Dr. Gloria Puldu, the president of the Leah
Foundation, were surrounded by praying believers on Thursday, Oct. 24 in the
Hart Senate Office building where Cruz and Tony Perkins, a commissioner on the
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) spoke in
support. “Leah is a Christian. A Christian who refuses to renounce her faith
and convert to Islam. And that is why she is still being held hostage by Boko
Haram,” Cruz reportedly said at the meeting. “There is hope and there is power.
A few voices like a candle in the dark of a cave can light the very darkest
recesses. Our voices together are powerful.” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee attended
the meeting and gave her condolences to Rebecca Sharibu.
and other activists with ICON are urging the appointment of a special envoy to
the Lake Chad Basin to coordinate the resources of all nations in the region in
the wake of advances by Boko Haram in the eastern part of Nigeria, and vicious
ethnic terrorism in the Middle Belt of that nation. The call for a special
envoy to Nigeria was echoed by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo at
an ICON sponsored press conference at the National Press Club on Oct. 14 and at
the Wilson Center and the Hudson Institute the following day. Former President
Obasanjo warned at all these meetings that Fulani-tribe terrorists and Boko
Haram soldiers were combining in the state of Mali, nearby to Nigeria. He
warned that if Fulani extremists and the Islamic State fighters of Boko Haram
capture a failed state such as Libya then, “all nations north of the River
Congo would be in trouble.”
Prayer Vigil for Leah will be held at the U.S. Capitol, First Street SE,
Washington, D.C at the reflecting pool on the West side of the Capitol at 1
p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26.
“Pity me and get me out of this serious situation”, Leah Sharibu.
Leah Sharibu remains in captivity. Since February 19th, when she was abducted by Boko Haram – specifically ISIS West Africa – until today she remains a heartache for Leah’s parents and a problem for President Buhari.
People question what Buhari is doing to release Leah Sharibu. Buhari was able to secure the release of the 109 Dapchi kidnapped victims, except Leah Sharibu. Why is he unable to release her?
Is Buhari not putting his full effort to seeing her release? Is he not able to negotiate with the terrorists? So, what do we know?
August 27th a short audio recording surfaced with Leah pleading, “I am calling on the government and people of goodwill to intervene to get me out of my current situation,” she said. “I am begging you to treat me with compassion. I am calling on the government, particularly the president, to pity me and get me out of this serious situation. Thank you.”
There are others who are in captivity with Leah, but are being killed by Boko Haram. Two aid workers were executed when the Federal Government did not meet the terrorists’ demands. Saifura Khosa and Hauwa Leman were kidnapped in March but were executed on September 18th and October 15th, respectively – they were working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Shamefully, it took Buhari eight months to finally speak to Leah’s parents and that was by a phone call on October 2nd. Buhari claimed that he will do all he can to secure her release and that no effort would be spared to ensure her rescue.
Then, on October 12th President Buhari seemed to be going into action when he sent a high-profile delegation to see Rebecca Sharibu in Dapchi. The activity in this area of Yobe State saw hundreds of armed troops (i.e. army, civil defense, mobile police, etc.), armed vehicles and helicopters which conveyed two security commanders and three ministers including the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
While there remains hope, the fact is she remains in captivity of Boko Haram – specifically ISIS West Africa. Leah’s parents (and her brother, Donald) continue to seek for her immediate release and for President Buhari and the Nigerian government to free her from Boko Haram.
Donald Trump reminded the world when he met with Nigeria’s President Buhari on April 30th in the Oval Office, that there is still one girl remaining in captivity. Many in Nigeria and in the international community want to know where she is and what is being done to release her.
International Committee On Nigeria (ICON)
PH: 404.988.0611 E: email@example.com
Confirmed: Leah is Alive
Do not stop praying!
Because you have been praying and asking others to pray for her release we believe that she will be released soon. Leah’s parents confirmed to ICON today that it is, indeed, her in the picture and are relieved to discover that she is alive!
So, do not stop praying for her immediate release and the Buhari and the Nigerian government will act to free her from her Boko Haram captors.
Please, help us get the attention of your lawmakers.
Simply, click on the picture and complete the form – it’s that simple!
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