President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
Oversight Hearing Before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights on “U.S. Policy Toward Nigeria: West Africa’s Troubled Titan
|Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor|
To an outside observer it may appear as though Boko Haram is not a monolithic group; that it is fragmented and disorganized, but I am here today to give you the Nigerian perspective. Since its creation, the Boko Haram network has never hidden its agenda or intentions. Boko Haram has
openly stated that they reject the Nigerian State and its Constitution and seek to impose Shari’ah Law. To this end, Boko Haram has waged a systematic campaign of terror and violence. They seek an end to western influence and a removal of the Christian presence in Nigeria.This is outright terrorism, not legitimate political activity or the airing of grievances.
A non-designation for the group only serves to hamper the cause of justice, and has emboldened Boko Haram to continue to strike out at those who are denied equal protection under the law. The frequency, lethality and sophistication of Boko Haram’s attacks raise disturbing questions regarding training and logistical support they have received from other like minded international terrorist networks. In January 2012 the United Nations Security Council published a report stating that Boko Haram members from Nigeria received training in AQIM camps located in Mali and Chad during the summer of 2011. That same summer Boko Haram carried out a bold terrorist attack against the United Nations building in Abuja. Boko Haram did not hesitate in claiming responsibility for the attack, nor has it ever hesitated in claiming responsibility for its ongoing attacks against police, military, local businesses, and increasingly churches and Christian institutions.
In Nigeria, my people are dying every single day, and it is only a matter of time before the international terrorist links and anti-democratic Islamist agenda of Boko Haram turns its attention to the United States. In fact, this may already be a reality, in April of 2012 the NYPD learned that a U.S. resident living on the East Coast had sent surveillance, including maps and photographs of lower Manhattan and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels to an alleged member of Boko Haram based in Nigeria.
State Department designated Boko Haram’s current leader; Abubaker Shekau and 2 others as “specially designated terrorists”, but fell short of designating the organization. This would be the equivalent of designating Bin Laden as a terrorist, but failing to designate Al Qaeda as a terrorist organization.
We too, want to have freedom, freedom of religion, freedom to worship as we choose without fear, we want to have justice, based in equality and not driven by discriminatory religious practices. Let me remind us that this is not about economics but about an ideology that has a history of sponsoring genocide across the globe.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Culled from: http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/112/HHRG-112-FA16-WState-OritsejaforA-20120710.pdf