It’s that time of year when people around the world count their blessings and are a bit more grateful for all they have received.
After reading the daily headlines every morning about the immense damage the terrorist group Boko Haram has caused in my ancestral homeland, Nigeria, and then looking at my beautiful daughters across the dinner table at night, I am especially thankful. Under different circumstances, I could be the parent of three Chibok girls, worried sick for nearly 1,000 days about whether they are dead or alive.
That’s why I commend U.S. Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, D-Florida, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who have successfully passed a bipartisan bill that directs our nation’s secretaries of State and Defense to jointly develop a five-year strategy to help Nigeria combat Boko Haram and address the subsequent humanitarian crisis. The U.S. Senate passed its version more than a year ago, and thanks to Rep. Wilson’s perseverance, the House of Representatives passed the measure less than 24 hours before the 114th Congress recessed for the holidays.
It was an impressive coup given how fractured the environment on Capitol Hill has been and a testament to the Ms. Wilson’s tenacity.
Nearly 200 girls are still being held by Boko Haram. The group has pledged its allegiance to ISIS, taken and ruined countless lives, sexually abused women and girls and created a historic famine. Its acts are so heinous that even ISIS has denounced it, causing what is now the world’s deadliest terrorist group to split in two.
The world must come to Nigeria’s aid. If it does not act, the trickle-down effect the insurgency has already had on the country’s border nations could adversely affect the rest of the continent and other parts of the world, causing a level of devastation that may take generations to reverse. More important, it’s just the right thing to do and will save millions of lives.
Ighodaro, Miami Gardens