by Kolapo Olapoju
Perhaps, former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, may have struck a chord when she called on President Barrack Obama to do more in rescuing the Chibok girls abducted by Islamist group Boko Haram over a year ago, in April 2014.
She had just been named one of the world’s 100 most influential people in TIME magazine’s annual issue, and while at the gala to commemorate 2015’s honrees, The BringBackOurGirls co-convener, had said: “If he could get Osama bin Laden, he could get our girls.”
Going further, Ezekwesili subtly called America’s President, Barack Obama, to action, saying: “It is time for someone as powerful as Barack Obama to compare the girls of Chibok to his own daughters.These girls are a symbol of our own message to girls, that they should be educated, that we would go beyond the call of duty for you.”
Probably as a ripple effect, on Friday, May 15 2015, during a hearing held by the House Foriegn Affairs Committee while passing the amendment to the National Defence Authorisation Act to combat Boko Haram, United States’ House of Representatives stated that Boko Haram is a threat to America while acknowledging that progress is being made by the Nigerian Army in the war against the insurgents.
The Chairman of the committee, Ed Royce, said:
“Boko Haram is notorious for their vicious kidnappings, killings, and pillaging throughout northern Nigeria. But the story is beginning to change – these terrorists are starting to feel some heat. The Nigerian military has higher morale, and the Africa Union task force is cutting off Boko Haram’s supply lines and reclaiming towns. The pieces are coming into place to destroy this terrorist group; the forces fighting Boko Haram just need crucial support to get the job done. Passing this amendment reaffirms US’ support for the forces on the front lines combating Boko Haram.”
Another member of the committee, Carolyn Maloney stated that the Islamic terrorist sect, should become a ‘national security priority’.
“I am proud to stand with Chairman Royce in support of his amendment to clearly affirm that Boko Haram presents a threat not just to one nation, but to the world. Combatting Boko Haram is and should remain a national security priority – and we must remain vigilant in fighting this enemy.”
The amended act was titled: “Report on United States efforts to combat Boko Haram and support regional allies and other partners.”
The lawmakers noted that Washington should continue to work closely with all its allies in combating the insurgents.
“Combating Boko Haram is in the national security interest of the United States; the United States should support regional partners, including the African Union-authorised Multinational Joint Task Force, through training and advice and the provision of key enablers to strengthen operations against Boko Haram.
“Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defence and the Secretary of State shall jointly submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on an assessment of the threat of Boko Haram to United States national security interests; a description of United States’ efforts to combat Boko Haram, including the authorities to carry out such efforts and the roles and missions of the Department of Defence and Department of State; a description of military equipment, supplies, training, and other defence articles and services, including by type, quantity, and prioritisation of such items, required to combat Boko Haram effectively and the gaps within regional allies to engage in the mission to combat Boko Haram.”