February 10, 2015, NY—–Exactly one month ago, CANAN issued a global public cry on the need for the international community to invoke its Responsibility to Protect doctrine regarding the fate of the people of Northeastern Nigeria who are being decimated by Boko Haram.
When we made the call we made it very clear the Baga incident of last month was more than a turning point for the international community to act.
CANAN had said:
“We have witnessed this week once again a most despicable massacre by Boko Haram in the northeastern town of Baga, in Nigeria, considered the second largest town in Borno State. So far this is the worst massacre in the history of Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria.
Media reports quoting local vigilante groups and Amnesty International are claiming that about 2000 innocent people were killed in the latest attack of the terrorist on Baga this week.”
Today, CANAN is glad to report that since then there has indeed been an encouraging international response from the United Nations, African Union, United States, Germany, France and Nigeria’s neighboring countries among others.
Now, the African Union is putting together a force of about 8700 soldiers, policemen and civilians, after a meeting over the last weekend in Cameroon, of regional leaders. The 8700 number is even better than the 7500 estimate at the AU Summit in Addis Ababa late January.
The troops will be coming from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin and other nations like Ghana had actually also indicated readiness to send troops to confront the Boko Haram terrorists who have seized about 14 local governments in the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe in Nigeria.
Although the financing of the troops is yet to be announced, we are today calling on the United Nations to ensure the proper funding of this international force. We also call on the US government to throw its weight behind this effort and as usual support this force especially in area of logistics as it does for all UN peacekeeping missions.
We also observe that last month while hosting the President of Ghana, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel did promise that the European Union will also set up a fund to finance the troops. We hope that promise will now come to pass.
Now that the international community has seen the urgent need to stop the massacre of innocent people in that part of Nigeria and in the neighboring nations, the AU and the UN must now proceed to secure a UN Security Council resolution that will empower this force and make it a truly and sustainable international force much like the AU-UN force in Darfur.
Every thing must be done to protect the life and property of the innocent people and also terminate the establishment of a terrorist enclave and a so-called Islamic State in that part of the country and region.
As we said last month, according to the United Nations, Responsibility to Protect doctrine, while the duty to prevent and halt genocide and mass atrocities lies first and foremost with the State, yet “the international community has a role that cannot be blocked by the invocation of sovereignty.” Specifically that doctrine says “sovereignty no longer exclusively protects States from foreign interference.”
The Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, CANAN, today commends all the leaders and organizations that have started planning for the international force and pray that the good LORD will secure the peace in the affected areas.
Meanwhile CANAN continues to be concerned about relief for the victims of terrorism in Nigeria and our $1m Relief Fundraising is in progress. We ask for support from the Nigerian community abroad and all people of goodwill around the world as we keep our commitment to supporting the victims of terror attacks in Nigeria.
Pastor Laolu Akande
CANAN Executive Director