A coalition of over 13 United States-based organisations under the aegis of Working Group on Nigeria, has written to President Goodluck Jonathan seeking a drastic action against the activities of Boko Haram Islamic sect. It described the sect as “the second most deadly terrorist group for the year 2012 ranking only behind the Taliban – and ahead of Al Qaeda.”
The WG advocates based in Washington, United Nations and International Criminal Court at The Hague, Netherlands also commiserated with the President on the Boko Haram insurgency and other sectarian attacks in northern Nigeria.
The organisation, in a letter to Jonathan dated April 15, a day after the bomb blast in Nyanya motor park in the FCT, expressed concern about “the devastation Boko Haram has brought not only to your people in northern Nigeria but also to citizens of 15 other nations who have died at their hands.”
The letter was signed by the President, Solidarity With the Pilgrim Church, Mr. Steven Wagner; Special Counsel to Justice for Jos Plus, Mr. Emmanuel Ogebe; Regional Coordinator, Christian Association of Nigerian Americans, Dr Kemi Onanuga; Chairman, Religious Freedom Coalition, Mr. William Murray, amongst others.
The coalition therefore made the following recommendations:
•Developing a comprehensive Human- Impact Management Strategy that provides adequate assistance and immediate/long-term interventions for the 5.9 million people affected by the insurgency, according to UNHCR estimates.
•Signing the UNHCR Internally Displaced Peoples agreement to facilitate multilateral and other donor humanitarian assistance to victims.
•Establishing a victim compensation fund to assist the victims of the large-scale destruction in the north. We consider the needs of your people to be a higher priority than the rebuilding of the UN building in Abuja.
•Repatriating, as a matter of the utmost urgency, Nigerian citizens who are refugees in Cameroun, Chad and Niger and reintegrating them into safer locations within the country; and
•Instituting satellite monitoring and other early warning and rapid response mechanisms to effectively pre-empt further atrocities. This is all the more critical during this Easter holiday when attacks have historically occurred.
The WG said, “Over five thousand lives have been lost in this slaughter of people in Nigeria at the hands of Boko Haram including members of the UN staff in the 2011 UN bombing. Nearly one-third of the religious institutions targeted globally in 2012 were located in Nigeria. There were more attacks on religious institutions in Nigeria than there were attacks on diplomatic embassies around the world combined.
“The time has indeed come to help bring an end to this genocide and to provide aid to victims, especially as the crisis has now assumed international dimension with thousands of Nigerian refugees spilling into Cameroun, Chad and Niger. Nigeria has always been a host to refugees fleeing conflicts in other nations, and we commend you for generously accommodating them over the years. However it is deeply troubling to see Nigeria, which has been a regional oasis for refugees, now becoming a refugee-exporting country.”
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