FRESH pressure is mounting on the US President Barack Obama and the outgoing US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to designate Nigeria’s Islamist group, Boko Haram, a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) before the end of Obama’s first term next month.
At the White House, an ambitious effort has been launched by a team of several US groups led by Jubilee Campaign and supported by the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN) to mobilise thousands of Americans to sign a petition addressed to President Obama, demanding the designation.
According to the petition, already posted on the White House website, the organisations and the petitioners observed that despite all the uncontested evidence on the activities of Boko Haram, “the US has refused to designate Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organisation.”
The petition, which has to get 25,000 signatures by December 29, to have the US President respond to it, stated that in the last three years, Boko Haram has killed an estimated 3,000 Nigerians, adding, “they have directly targeted helpless Christians, and any Muslims who dare to disagree with their genocidal ambitions.”
CANAN in a statement said it was mobilising the over 1,000 US-based Nigerian churches to get their members to endorse the petition within the time limit, so as to get a response from the White House.
Opening up the White House website to Americans to petition the US government is one of the initiatives of President Obama to bring the US government closer to the American people. But his administration has been reluctant to go after Boko Haram as a group.