Save the Persecuted Christians Calls for the Appointment of a U.S. Presidential Special Envoy to Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region
Coalition Partner, International Committee on Nigeria, Launches #SilentSlaughter Campaign
March 18, 2020
WASHINGTON—Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) joined the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON) at a news conference at the National Press Club to discuss Nigeria’s horrific genocide. Speakers included Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Johnnie Moore, founder of the Kyrios Company and president of the Congress of Christian Leaders; Frank Gaffney, president and CEO of Save the Persecuted Christians; Dr. Richard Ikiebe, founder of the International Organization for Peace Building and Social Justice; and Stephen Enada, director of the International Committee on Nigeria. ICON is a coalition partner of Save the Persecuted Christians.
“The event coincides with the launch of a joint awareness campaign called ‘#SilentSlaughter,’ which will continue throughout 2020,” Enada said. “The ‘#SilentSlaughter’ campaign will raise awareness of the growing religious and ethnic conflict in Nigeria, which has resulted in the death, abduction and displacement of millions of Christians, chiefly women and children. The increasing pace of the internal strife in Nigeria should concern all Americans, especially the millions of Americans of Nigerian descent.”
The mission of the International Committee on Nigeria is to create a community where rule of law guides every facet of societal interactions in Nigeria. ICON promotes human dignity, the right to live, religious freedom and the protection of the vulnerable against all forms of persecution. More information and a petition are available at SilentSlaughterNigeria.com.
A live-stream recording of the press conference is available at Save the Persecuted Christians’ Facebook page. Significant remarks from the speakers are below.
Before introducing the speakers, Enada said, “The situation in Nigeria is critical … Nigeria is imploding fast. We need to take action now before the situation gets worse. … We are asking the Trump administration for the appointment of a presidential envoy to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.”
Perkins, Chairman of USCIRF, but speaking in his private capacity as president of the Family Research Council remarked:
“We must be paying attention to what’s happening in Nigeria. It has the potential to affect the entire African continent and Europe. We’ve already seen the acute nature of the attack on Christians. This year, we’ve already seen over 300 Christians who have been killed. That’s 50 Christians murdered each week, 7 to 8 on average every day. Thousands of more have been kidnapped and displaced from their homes due to the attack on their villages. Refugees could become a huge problem for the African continent and for Europe.
This is a problem that we must solve.
“… This is about Christians being targeted for their faith. We have an obligation to speak up on their behalf. We can’t solve every problem in the world, but we can solve some. And, we are right to focus on those problems that will create the greatest return. I’m convinced that if we move with precision, with insight and with understanding, and with a passion for the people of Nigeria, we can solve this problem in Nigeria and not look back with regret a decade from now because we witnessed another Rwanda.”
Following Perkins, another USCIRF Commissioner, Moore, also speaking in his private capacity as the founder of Kyrios Company and president of the Congress of Christian Leaders who returned from a fact-finding trip to Nigeria a few weeks back, called what is happening in Nigeria a “five-alarm fire.”
“I came back from my visit to Nigeria a few weeks ago with one conclusion. ‘I hadn’t heard the half of it.’ It is much worse, much more dangerous, and much more of a priority than its been given by the international community.
“… What I don’t think we really understand is that this crisis is not just Nigeria,” said Moore. “This crisis can destabilize Nigeria. A destabilized Nigeria will have negative impacts for the whole region. Aside from business and other security interests, the whole stability of that part of West Africa could be in peril if this isn’t resolved. This is one of the most consequential issues in our world. The entire region is in a state of emergency. This is like a five-alarm fire. This is a very urgent situation. We could see a refugee crisis on a scale we haven’t seen if this continues. Not to mention the human trafficking that’s going on. The effect is that this entire area could become a breeding ground for Islamic extremists like we haven’t seen before. … It is a security issue on an incomprehensible scale. Every nation in the world has one job. That job is to secure their people. The Nigerian government needs to do more to secure their people.
“One of the things the United States government should do right now is evaluate every single program in West Africa to decide if those programs are meeting our intended purposes. Because what is happening there cannot be taken in isolation, and the suffering people there for way too long have suffered in silence. I for one will not let them suffer in silence any longer. If they can’t raise their voice, I’m more than happy to lend them my own, and I hope you will join me in that.”
Gaffney built upon the remarks of others and stressed that Sharia supremacist groups drawn to Nigeria because of its resources and wealth are exploiting the international community’s shameful silence in a bid for a new caliphate.
“It is indeed the case that Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation. The argument can be made that it is its most important nation as well—its strategic location in West Africa, its resources and the wealth of the country—and the fact that Christians are being persecuted is happening because the people who are doing the persecution have recognized an opportunity to translate this particular piece of real estate into a caliphate that will make what ISIS established briefly in the Middle East pale into insignificance. … If the combined forces of what I think of as Sharia supremacists—we’ve heard about Boko Haram, we’ve heard about the Fulani militants, but there are also, of course, elements doing business as the West African franchise of ISIS itself—if these forces come together, as they are, and succeed in being able to drive out of the nation many, if not virtually all, of the Christians, that crisis will be an affliction on all of Africa, Europe and the world beyond. This is of the utmost strategic importance. Nigeria is imploding. We have a chance to keep it from going completely bad. I join all these esteemed leaders and especially ICON in urging that the appointment of a special envoy—a presidential special envoy for Nigeria—be appointed as a matter of utmost urgency.”
Dr. Ikiebe, closing out the events, traveled to the United States from Nigeria to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He likened what is happening in Nigeria to the turmoil that preceded the genocide in Rwanda.
“The Nigerian government architecture is not designed to support the individual and where they do operate at all, it is discriminating. Very discriminating.
“I am not an alarmist. I did not travel thousands of miles here to alarm you. The truth is that—I think the year was 1991—in Rwanda, everything was normal on the sixth of April. But, on the seventh of April, hell broke loose. Only 24 hours difference. Nobody saw it coming. I’m sure that before Kigali became a mad country, where in 100 days close to a million people were slaughtered, there were meetings like this. There were warnings like this. There were people crying at this. … There were people who were responsible at that time—who saw it coming but did nothing. … Please, whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever place you have on the spectrum whether Republican or Democrat, for the sake of mothers and children and babies who are being killed, who have no defense, please say something before it is too late.”
The mission of Save the Persecuted Christians, led by leaders of nearly 200 faith and civil society groups, is to save lives and save souls by disseminating actionable information about the magnitude of the persecution taking place globally and by mobilizing concerned Americans for the purpose of holding accountable those responsible and imposing costs for their crimes against humanity.
With so much of the world’s Christian population being harassed, tortured, imprisoned and/or murdered for their beliefs, most especially those in Nigeria, the need has never been greater for the sort of grassroots campaign STPC’s SaveUs Movement is working to foster. Its efforts are modeled after a miraculously successful one that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution—Soviet Jews—by penalizing those in the Kremlin responsible for such repression. Through this movement, Save the Persecuted Christians endeavors to provide American policymakers with the popular support they need to effect real change worldwide and to alleviate systemically the suffering being experienced by so many of those following Christ.
To interview a Save the Persecuted Christians or ICON representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Patrick Benner, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.