Violence continues to threaten stability in Nigeria, particularly in the agricultural region. Deeply concerned about this crisis, the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON), in collaboration with the Heritage Foundation and 21Wilberforce, hosted Nigerian leaders General TY Danjuma and Taraba State Governor Darius Ishaku to discuss implications from Nigeria’s escalating religious and ethnic violence.
Representatives from the U.S. government and prominent NGOs also joined the discussion.
General Danjuma addressed the issue of extremism among some Fulani people that has led to horrific attacks on villages that echo Boko-Haram tactics. General Danjuma, who has a reputation for fighting corruption, said, “Evidence is there that President Buhari has failed. Corruption continues and ineffective governance does not confront attacks on villages.”
President Trump met recently with Nigeria President Buhari at the White House where he decried religious violence in Nigeria. “We encourage Nigeria’s federal, state, and local leaders to do everything in their power to immediately secure affected communities and to protect innocent civilians of all faiths, including Muslims and Christians.”
Darius Ishaku, Governor of Taraba State (where Roman Catholic churches have been attacked by Fulani extremists in recent weeks), shared that his own leadership abilities are hampered by the structure of Nigerian governance. He said, “We do not have state or local police … Governors do not have power or influence to make changes in their own states.”
“If chaos continues in Nigeria, refugees will flood over West Africa, then Europe and eventually America – whether you build a wall or not,” warned General Danjuma. Also in attendance, Former Congressman Frank Wolf, Sr., Distinguished Fellow at 21Wilbeforce, added that, “Europe can barely handle Syrian and Iraqi refugees so they’d be overwhelmed if Nigeria collapsed.”
Recognizing that Nigeria is the lynchpin of regional stability and a strategic partner with the US in the struggle against extremism, General Danjuma and Governor Ishaku asked concerned American organizations to help Nigeria nurture its democracy. “We need ‘civilized democracies’ like the US to help with our Nigerian democracy in ways that provide security for citizens of every religious affiliation, bring justice to perpetrators of violence, and empower civil society to confront atrocities and stand together to promote peace.