U.S. lawmakers warn Nigerian government against further shift of elections

US House of Representatives

The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee has passed a unanimously bipartisan legislation to condemn the activities of the insurgent group in Nigeria, Boko Haram.

The Committee, chaired by U.S. Representative, Ed Royce, lambasted the group over its bloody attacks, which has left thousands of citizens dead, while several hundreds of thousands of others have been displaced from their homes.

The Committee also highlighted the significance of Nigeria’s forthcoming elections, stressing the dire consequences of any further shift in the schedule.

Specifically, the legislation introduced by a Representative, Robin Kelly, condemned Boko Haram, describing its series of attacks on innocent men, women, and children in northeastern Nigeria as ‘cowardly’.

In spite of the activities of Boko Haram, which has posed serious security concerns and threat to the elections, the lawmakers urged the Nigerian government to do everything to ensure it held a safe and credible election without further delay.

In addition, the legislation applauded the efforts of the African Union to raise a standing regional force to combat Boko Haram and expresses support for a robust security assistance to the new force.

After the resolution was passed, the Committee Chairman said: “It’s no wonder that Boko Haram is being called the ISIS of Africa.”

He recalled that in January, Boko Haram had launched one of its worst attacks, which saw thousands of innocent citizens killed, adding that the Committee resolution condemned in its entirety those brutal attacks.

The lawmakers encouraged the Nigerian government to continue to work with the United States and the neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroun to defeat the bloody group, pointing out that the government needed to ensure that the new coalition forces authorized by the African Union has the tools needs to get the job done.

This resolution also urged the Nigerian government to avoid further shift in the election schedule and adhere to the new election time table of March 28 for presidential and National Assembly elections.

The elections for the governors and the members of the various state legislatures is scheduled for April 11.

Besides, the lawmakers also called on all the candidates of the various political parties to uphold their commitments to prevent political violence, which they noted was not “uncommon in Nigeria.”

Last year, the Committee, during a hearing entitled, “Boko Haram: The Growing Threat to Schoolgirls, Nigeria, and Beyond”, critically examined the President Goodluck Jonathan administration’s response to the insurgent activities of Boko Haram.”

Prior to the hearing, the Chairman met with Deborah Peter, a 15-year-old girl from Chibok community, where nearly about 234 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram.

Ms. Peter was the first female survivor of a Boko Haram attack to visit Washington, D.C.

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