WASHINGTON, June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a letter from 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative:
Dear Mr. President: We write with great urgency regarding the dire crisis continuing to unfold in northeastern and central Nigeria, much of it as the direct result of Boko Haram. Just yesterday, in the Washington Post, Kevin Sieff noted, "Thousands of Boko Haram victims are on the verge of starvation in northeastern Nigeria." Six people, on average, are dying every day from malnutrition. According to Medicins Sans Frontieres, "on certain days more than 30 people were dying due to hunger and illness," and that 66 percent of the children they screened were emaciated.
This is in addition to a recent Refugees International report which quoted a top UN official as saying, "Nigeria is our biggest failure." Another chief UN humanitarian official described the Lake Chad region as the "world's most neglected humanitarian crisis."
Should Nigeria further fracture it would also constitute one of the greatest security threats in West Africa. The Global Terrorism Index now considers Boko Haram the most lethal terrorist organization in the world with the Fulani militants of Nigeria's Middle Belt the fourth deadliest. Our own research indicates that in just the first four months of this year, there was a 190% increase in people killed by Fulani militants.
Earlier this year, we, along with others from the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, traveled to Nigeria and witnessed first-hand what is taking place. We met with over 500 people, drove through entire villages burned to the ground, visited with families forced to live in caves to elude terrorists, and heard firsthand testimony of communities surviving by eating grass. We have continued to liaise with those affected on the ground, diaspora groups, Congressional offices and State Department officials, and just released a report, "Nigeria: Fractured and Forgotten."
The crisis in Nigeria and the surrounding countries is larger than Boko Haram and cannot continue unaddressed. We are grateful you and your Administration have already designated Boko Haram as an FTO and offered significant assistance to Nigeria. However, given that this is the world's most neglected humanitarian crisis and one of the most significant security threats in West Africa, we believe what is needed is a Special Envoy for Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.
A Special Envoy for Nigeria and the Lake Chad region directly reporting to Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield could relate to Boko Haram, terrorism, IDP's, refugees, psycho-social care, etc. It is our firm belief that the United States and other Western nations have a vested interest in confronting one of the worst humanitarian crises of our day. The appointment of a Special Envoy would send a strong signal and further strengthen American leadership.
We urge you and your Administration to act quickly and appoint a Special Envoy for Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.
Thank you for your consideration.
President, 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative
Frank R. Wolf
Distinguished Senior Fellow
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nigeria-dire-crisis-spawns-letter-to-president-obama-300289929.html
SOURCE 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative