January 31, 2017
Wilberforce A!ert: Do You Know Where One Child Will Die Every 8 Minutes?
According to the U.S. government’s Famine Early Warning System, Nigeria is one of four countries causing an unprecedented famine risk. Boko Haram - whose ideology denies people religious freedom with weapons of massacre, rape, and kidnapping – is the main cause of the famine. People fleeing the violence have been separated from their homes, farms, and food.
In February 2016, I visited Nigeria and I can tell you that conditions are some of the worst imaginable. According to the UN, 75,000 children are at risk of dying in 2017. That is one child, a little boy or girl, dying every 8 minutes. Reports coming to us from the field indicate the Nigerian military is managing displacement camps below international standards. Women are even selling themselves to provide food for their children.
Boko Haram is spreading into other countries in Africa’s Lake Chad region. These countries have had some success confronting the terrorist group, but unrest continues to spread and the terrorist group is not the only challenge to the region.
Another terrorist group, the Niger Delta Avengers in southern Nigeria, announced January 8 it will continue attacks on infrastructure. The 21st Century Wilberforce’s own research shows that villages in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are left insecure and under threat from Fulani Militants using advanced weapons and tactics.
Nigeria and the Lake Chad region are far away from us. Why should we care? Already, our European allies face a crisis caused by Syrian immigration. Nigeria is adding to the strain: from January to September of 2016, 22,500 Nigerians crossed illegally into Europe. Syria is a country of 18.5 million people. Nigeria is ten times that size, and by 2050, will be larger than the U.S. As the singer Bono said, “If Nigeria…were to fracture as a result of groups like Boko Haram, we are going to wish we had been thinking bigger before the storm.”
But there are things we can do. President Trump should appoint a Special Envoy for Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region. This person can coordinate the good work of people like the highly capable new Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, and others by bridging efforts across borders while increasing awareness of the threats in the U.S. Government and international partners.
And you can do something: mobilize your church, donate to our trusted partners who are getting food, medicine, education, and shelter to the displaced, and finally, pray. We have resources for you at www.StandWithNigeria.org. We need you to help ensure that Nigeria stabilizes, violence ends, justice is executed, and children do not starve.
- Learn more about the famine with our fact sheet: http://www.standwithnigeria.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/NigeriaFamineChurchesFS2.pdf
- Get your church involved: Download our action pack: http://www.standwithnigeria.org/churches/
- Use social media hashtags, #StandWithNigeria #WhyAreTheyHungry.
- Contact your representative and senators and ask them to Stand with Nigeria.