- The US has lagged behind in humanitarian assistance spending millions on Interfaith dialogue instead of de-radicalization programs or even relief. Nigeria’s President announced last week that he would not provide compensation for victims. The US should urge him to emulate America’s post-911 victim compensation fund for his citizens.
- USAID has a PEACE project that researches extremism in target countries. Despite the data that puts Nigeria at the front of terror activity, USAID has not made Nigeria a priority country. In fact, it lists Nigeria specifically as an example of a country that doesn’t suffer extremism, but does not make an effort to study the situation to prove or disprove its assumption. USAID should consider designating Nigeria a priority country and studying this properly.
- In regards to regional security cooperation, the US looked beyond the oil producing region to include northern Nigeria in its Bi-national Commission. More technical assistance should be provided against the Boko Haram terrorism to enable the army combat a Taliban-insurgency from America’s lessons learned.
- In the same vein, the US should work to contain the proliferation of post-Qaddafi and post northern Mali arms. Although the US consul general in Nigeria did raise public concern, it is unclear if strategic containment mechanisms were initiated.
- The US should review the idea of placing more American lives in grave danger at the height of a low-grade insurgency by opening a consulate in Kano in a post-Benghazi era.
- The U.S. State Department has denied within its annual reports and in previous statements by officials the religious motivation of Boko Haram, which has repeatedly declared its goal of overthrowing the state and establishing a radical Muslim theocracy. To claim that religion does not play a role in the extremism exhibited by this terrorist group is disingenuous, deeply insensitive to victims and impairs U.S. threat analysis.
- Prior to today’s designation, the State Department has downplayed the fact that Boko Haram has attacked U.S. citizens which potentially places more Americans including diplomats at risk.
- The U.S. has lagged behind in humanitarian assistance, nor has it encouraged the Nigerian government to assist victims or provide compensation to victims.
- Nigeria is a strategic security partner in the region and globally, and it currently participates in nine U.N. peacekeeping operations worldwide.
Ogebe noted that in addition to the humanitarian tragedy of these ongoing atrocities being inflicted on individuals solely because of a warped theology, there are concerns that if allowed to continue, this violent jihad will spread to other parts of Africa, destabilizing strategic areas of the continent and increasing threat to vital U.S. interests. The rest of his testimony can be seen here.
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