9th December, 2016
The United States House of Representatives has passed a legislation directing the country’s Secretaries of State and Defence to jointly develop a five-year strategy to assist Nigeria in its fight against Boko Haram.
The measure is also aimed at providing assistance to members of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and international partners offering support in counter-terrorism operations against the Boko Haram sect in the region.
According to reports, the legislation, passed by a voice vote, was introduced by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-Florida) and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine).
They expressed optimism that it would help combat Boko Haram specifically. The strategy is also aimed at addressing the crushing humanitarian and educational crises that Boko Haram had created.
“Boko Haram captured my attention and the headlines when the terrorist group kidnapped 276 Nigerian schoolgirls from their dormitory rooms 968 days ago. For most of the world, the Chibok girls symbolised the horror that is Boko Haram, but the damage its members have wrought goes far deeper,” Congresswoman Wilson was quoted as saying in a statement.
Collins, who authored and originally introduced the bill, averred that Boko Haram had pledged allegiance to ISIS and it continued to commit terrible acts of brutal violence against civilians in Nigeria as well as in Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic.
Collins, describing Wilson as a willing and able partner in the effort to pass the bipartisan legislation, explained that it requires a five-year strategy to pursue Boko Haram and it would bolster efforts of the U.S. throughout the region.
Any support from the United States will be welcomed by the Nigerian government, even though heightened counter-terrorism operations have decimated the terrorists, who still carry out suicide attacks on soft targets.
The military said few days ago that it has commenced final rescue operations in Sambisa Forest, a safe haven for the terrorists that have forced over two million persons out of their homes in their over seven years push for an Islamic State and an end to Western education in the region.