ICC Note: U.S. Congressman Chris Smith is planning to draft a bill to send a special envoy to Nigeria to help the U.S. government better understand the persecution issues afflicting Christians in the populous West African nation. The Church faces violent heat from militant Islamists Boko Haram in the far northeastern areas, especially in Borno State and the Lake Chad region. Secondly, agrarian Christian villages from the north through the “Middle-Belt” central region into the Southeast face ongoing brutal attacks from radical Fulani militants seeking to displace Christians and occupy their land for cattle grazing.
5/12/16 Nigeria (World Watch Monitor) – A member of the U.S. Congress said on Wednesday (11 May) that he will help introduce legislation calling on the president to establish a special envoy to Nigeria and the wider Lake Chad region, in an attempt to sharpen the American response to deadly Islamist insurgencies that have killed thousands of Christians.
“We’ll put together a draft bill on a special envoy and begin the process,” said U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. “It may help provide a focus that may be lacking.”
The request for a special envoy was made by former U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, whose legislative career was largely concerned with religious freedom before he retired in 2014. Wolf was in Nigeria in February, a month during which ethnic Fulani militants, largely Muslim, waged a week of attacks in central Nigeria that culminated in a massacre at Agatu village in Benue state, leaving hundreds of Christians, some of them pregnant women, dead.
“We heard about the pain, suffering, and agony that the people in northern and central Nigeria have faced, and continue to face,” Wolf testified to the subcommittee. “Many believe the world is not concerned with their problems and I agree. As a result, it is clear that the crisis plaguing Nigeria is multi-faceted, but one that must be addressed by the Nigerian government, our government, and the international community.”