House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Human Rights Lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe and a bipartisan group of US Representatives wear red on Wednesday to stand for the missing Chibok girls
Washington - The Trump administration Monday revealed to lawmakers its 5-year plan to address the Boko Haram. This is pursuant to a bill proposed by congresswoman Fredericka Wilson and signed into law by president Obama. This was contained in notification letter addressed to the congresswoman by the US Department of State (see attached.)Last month, U.S. Senator Susan Collins and U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson led a bipartisan group of 50 members of Congress in writing to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, requesting an update on their efforts to counter Boko Haram.
In December 2016, legislation introduced by Senator Collins and Congresswoman Wilson was signed into law requiring the Administration to develop a comprehensive plan to help the Nigerian government and its partners combat Boko Haram and address the legitimate concerns of affected, vulnerable populations. Senator Collins and Congresswoman Wilson’s legislation, which responded to the terrorist organization’s kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria in 2014, directs the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of National Intelligence to submit to Congress a five-year anti-Boko Haram strategy by June 12, 2017.
“While we were encouraged by the release of 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls last week, it is imperative that we remember that many of the girls remain in captivity along with untold hundreds of other women, men, and children who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram,”Senator Collins and Congresswoman Wilson wrote. “…[W]e look forward to receiving an update on your efforts to develop an anti-Boko Haram strategy and beginning the process of dismantling Boko Haram and reuniting all of the Chibok schoolgirls with their families.”
Also Monday, a high court in Abuja heard arguments from the Attorney General of Nigeria that a libel lawsuit against the Nigerian Government should be struck out because public officers are protected from such actions after 3 months. Counsel for the plaintiff, international human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe, replied that the Supreme Court has ruled that a public officer cannot rely on the law for protection when they act illegally, unlawfully and more especially when they violate constitutional rights of citizens. The facts of the case are that a Nigerian cabinet member, minister of Women Affairs Aisha Alhassan, gave a press conference where she falsely claimed that the plaintiff did not put the Chibok girls in school in the US. Just this month, several of the girls graduated from high school.
In a bizarre twist, the Attorney General is also arguing that if the minister acted illegally or outside her authority then the Government of Nigeria should not be liable in the defamation suit only the minister should be.
The trial judge adjourned the case for ruling on the Attorney General and the Minister's respective preliminary objections to the law suit.
In a separate development, lawyers in the US have written to the acting president and the UN urging the government of Nigeria not to discriminate against the Chibok girls but to treat all of them fairly. The American lawyers are also seeking UN mediation in the matter if Nigeria fails to step up to its duty to provide for some of the escaped girls in the US (see attached) who have been denied assistance. Two of those girls who recently graduated from High School are planning to attend university in the US.