WASHINGTON, D.C., October 16, 2020 – The urgent need for the United States to send a special envoy to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region to address ongoing persecution is highlighted in a new book written by Reverend Johnnie Moore and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON) announced today. The book titled, “The Next Jihad,” was released just days after ICON announced the results of a North Carolina survey, which found the overwhelming majority of voters are aware of persecution in Nigeria and two-thirds are more likely to vote for President Trump if he sends a special envoy to Nigeria to address the issue.
“Reverend Moore and Rabbi Cooper have been steadfast in their efforts to serve as a voice for the voiceless, and encourage others to do the same, as the Nigerian people continue to suffer,” said Stephen Enada, co-founder of ICON. “This book highlights the horrors Christian believers face in Nigeria on a daily basis based on firsthand accounts – indeed, there is a great darkness in the region that must be addressed. We have seen in our own lifetime the dangers of waiting too long to act. We cannot make that mistake here. There is far too much at stake.”
“Given the gravity of what’s happening in Nigeria – with innocent men, women, and children being systematically slaughtered by the hundreds, sometimes on a daily basis, I am not surprised there is overwhelming support for U.S. action,” said Kyle Abts, co-founder of ICON. “The survey confirms that defending religious freedom here and abroad continues to be a key issue for voters. We strongly urge the Trump Administration to take note, take action, and send a special envoy to Nigeria before things get any worse.”
The statewide survey, by Mitchell Research & Communications, Inc., was conducted throughout the battleground state of North Carolina from September 22-25, 2020 on behalf of ICON. It was conducted online among a cross-section of 600 adults age 18 and over. In the survey, 45.2% of respondents were voting for Donald Trump, 44.5% for Joe Biden, and 6% were undecided.
In December, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended designating Nigeria a Country of Particular Concern, effectively calling out the government for tolerating human rights and religious freedom violations, sending a strong signal that our government will not stand for these abuses. ICON and others close to the issue, including members of Congress and advocacy groups, say there is more to be done. Specifically, they’re asking President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to appoint a special envoy to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.
A special envoy is a senior official appointed by the U.S. Department of State to deal with a specific set of issues. In this case, the specific charge would be to oversee discussions with the Nigerian government to restore peace to the country. With the full backing of the U.S. government, the special envoy would have the power to hold perpetrators of religious violence and other crimes accountable.
“Nearly 100,000 Nigerians have been brutally killed since 2000 as their own government turns a blind eye,” Enada explained. “We cannot allow this to continue. Without intervention, I am confident Nigeria is headed down a road similar to Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Darfur, and Myanmar. This is one of the most consequential issues we face. It’s critical that we act now.”