Potential Nigerian Collapse would Dwarf Syrian Refugee Crisis
You might recognize the image at left as part of the “bring back our girls” Twitter campaign launched a few years ago when the Islamic terror group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 teen girls from a Nigerian boarding school and forced them to marry members of the group. So far, only two of the victims have been found.
Boko Haram, which translates to “western education is forbidden,” has been preying on northeastern Nigeria for the past seven years. The violent group has since spread its bloody fingers into Chad, Niger, and Cameroon. Boko Haram is responsible for more than 50% of all global deaths attributed to terrorism.
“Of the deadliest terror organizations in the world, number one is Boko Haram. Number two is ISIS. Keep in mind they’ve pledged their allegiance to ISIS, and there’s a connection,” says former Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA). Number four is the Fulani Militant Herdsmen, also active in Nigeria.
Emmanuel Ogebe, special counsel for the Justice for Jos project, recounts his impression of the two terrorist groups following a visit to Nigeria:
“Where Boko Haram would sort through victims to separate Muslims from Christians, women from men and children from adults, most often killing the latter and sparing the former, the nomads hack and burn babies, slash the bellies of pregnant women and generally leave a less methodical and more gruesome aftermath. Boko Haram seizes and occupies towns to administer them. The Fulani destroy communities and their cattle graze on the farms of those displaced or killed.”
Wolf worries what could happen if these combined terrorist powers overwhelm Nigeria. “There’s 180 million people in Nigeria. There’s 3 million in Syria. If Nigeria unravels, imagine the impact on Europe and the world. It would be unbelievable.”
There are already between 5 and 6 million IDPs (internally displaced persons) in Nigeria, he continues. The IDP camps “are the worse I’ve ever seen. They have nothing. The UN is not there, almost no one’s there, other than some church groups,” he said after visiting the African country in February.
Wolf stresses the potential aftermath should Nigeria succumb to terrorism: “We have a major interest there. If that 180 million or a portion of them are displaced, they will devastate Africa, they will devastate Europe, and they will have a major impact on the business interests of the United States.”
Wolf slammed Hillary Clinton for ignoring pleas to designate Boko Haram as a “foreign terrorist organization” during her time as Secretary of State and argues that “much of what we’re facing [today] would be different.”
Wolf is currently working with members of Congress in an effort to establish a special enjoy to Nigeria. He hopes such a move will raise awareness of the problems in Nigeria and argues that we must launch a coordinated response against Boko Haram and the Fulani Herdsmen. “The issue of Boko Haram and the Fulani Herdsmen are not localized to Nigeria, but transcend the bordering countries. A special envoy could help coordinate necessary assistance throughout the region.”