His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Aso Rock Presidential Villa
Dear President Jonathan,
On behalf of the Working Group on Nigeria, a coalition of U.S. organizations we
would like to commiserate with you on the Boko Haram jihadist insurgency and other
sectarian attacks in northern Nigeria that have claimed the lives of numerous innocent
citizens including yesterday’s horrendous bomb blast. The Working Group advocates in
Washington, the UN, ICC and other fora concerning the precarious situation in Nigeria.
In addition, some of our members also engage in relief and humanitarian assistance to
We are deeply concerned about the devastation Boko Haram has brought not only to your
people in northern Nigeria but also to citizens of fifteen other nations who have died at
Available data shows that:
• Boko Haram was the second most deadly terrorist group for the year 2012 ranking only
behind the Taliban – and ahead of Al Qaeda.
• Over five thousand lives have been lost in this largely silent slaughter in Nigeria at the
hands of Boko Haram including members of the U.N. staff in the 2011 U.N. bombing.
• Nearly one-third of the religious institutions targeted globally in 2012 were located in
Nigeria, where Boko Haram overwhelmingly attacked churches.
• 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 dimensions with thousands
of Nigerian refugees spilling into Cameroun, Chad and Niger. Nigeria has always been a
host to refugees fleeing conflict 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 become a refugee-exporting country.
Regrettably, no victim compensation fund for the victims of these massacres currently
exists. However, the Nigerian government is reportedly spending about thirty million
dollars to repair the U.N. building in Abuja after it was bombed in 2011. Over 300 churches
have been destroyed between the U.N. bombing in 2011 and 2013, about half a dozen
mosques attacked and thousands of homes, farms and businesses as well, yet there is no
restitution program for the victims.
In 2011 attacks around Nigeria’s capital city, Boko Haram first bombed the Police HQ in
June, ACFM church in July, the U.N. building in August, St. Theresa’s Catholic church and
MFM Jos on Christmas day – all fatally. Recently, our fact-finders visited St Theresa’s and
found a mother who lost her husband and three children in the bombing, struggling to care
for a 13-year old son who survived but still has shrapnel in his skull – 2 years after. People
like this would benefit from a VCF.
These victims are desperate. Desperation and destitution in the face of impunity are
potential drivers for retaliation and escalation. This needs to be urgently mitigated.
We humbly recommend that you take the following urgent steps to help ameliorate the
1. Develop a comprehensive Human- Impact Management Strategy (HIMS) that
provides adequate assistance and immediate/long-term interventions for the 5.9
million people affected by the insurgency according to UNHCR estimates.
2. Sign the UNHCR Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) agreement to facilitate
multilateral and other donor humanitarian assistance to victims..
3. Establish 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 and responsibility than the rebuilding of the U.N. building in Abuja and urge
the Nigerian government to institute at a very minimum the equivalent amount of
the renovation costs towards a Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).
4. Repatriate, as a matter of the utmost urgency, Nigerian citizens who are refugees
in Cameroun, Chad and Niger and reintegrate them in safer locations within the
5. Institute satellite monitoring and other early warning and rapid response
mechanisms to effectively preempt further atrocities This is all the more critical in
this Easter holiday period when attacks have historically occurred.
We wish you Godspeed as you work to bring peace, security and stability to your great
Don Beehler, President
Brent McBurney, Esq., President
AFRICA COMMITTEE – INT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ROUNDTABLE
Scott Morgan, Chair
CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN AMERICANS, MD/DC/VA
Dr Kemi Onanuga, Regional Coordinator
Kanayo K. Odeluga MD., MPH, Executive Director
INDEPENDENT RESEARCHER & WRITER
Andrew Harrod, LL.M Ph.D
THE INSTITUTE ON RELIGION AND DEMOCRACY
Faith McDonnell, Director Religious Liberty Programs
INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN CONCERN
Jeff King, President
Ann Buwalda, Esq., Executive Director
JUSTICE FOR JOS PLUS
Special Counsel, Emmanuel Ogebe, Esq.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM COALITION
William J Murray, Chairman
SOLIDARITY WITH THE PILGRIM CHURCH
Steven Wagner, President
Katharine Gorka, Executive Director