In his quest to fulfill campaign promises, Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, continues to take a militarized approach to defeat insurgent group Boko Haram. This approach, along with Boko Haram’s actions, have plunged Nigeria’s northeast into humanitarian catastrophe, displacing people from their homes and bringing about a health crisis.
About 4.5 million people in the three states of northeastern Nigeria are at risk of hunger, with some places at risk of famine. Yet the Nigerian government is procuring military hardware worth billions of dollars from the U.S., Russia, and Pakistan, rather than directing its spending toward the humanitarian crisis.
Throughout the year these concerns were brought to the attention of lawmakers through several congressional briefings organized by a coalition in which we participate. Our office advocated for funding for a non-militarized approach to Boko Haram, as well as robust funding to address the humanitarian crisis.
In April, we hosted Orval and Cleta Gingerich, who worked with MCC in Nigeria. They met with their congressional representatives, encouraging them to support a maternal and child health bill and to establish a support fund for victims of Boko Haram. They also asked for increased funding for poverty-focused development and humanitarian programs.
Such funding would enable Faith Alive, a health care facility that receives support from MCC, to receive increased funding for HIV and AIDS-related services. It would also help support psychosocial trauma healing programs for displaced people in northeastern Nigeria, which the EYN (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), in partnership with MCC, is implementing. —Charles Kwuelum