- (Photo: Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)
The Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans is calling on the federal government for help as thousands of Nigerians flee the country to escape attacks by Islamic terrorist organization Boko Haram.
CANAN shared in a statement on Thursday its concerns that "the federal government of Nigeria and the governments of the affected states are not doing enough to cater for the refugee situation that have been created by the Boko Haram situation."
Over 4,000 Nigerians reportedly fled to Nigeria in the past four weeks, while close to 57,000 people in total have left because of Boko Haram's attacks since May 2013. A U.N. refugee agency has expressed its concern at the humanitarian impact of continuing violence in northeastern Nigeria, and revealed that newly arrived refugees in Niger have spoken out against the atrocities being committed by terrorists in the islands and shores of Lake Chad in northeast Nigeria's Borno state.
One Nigerian woman recounted how corpses were strewn "through houses and floating in the water," and that people fleeing the region were so afraid that they no longer went back to bury their dead or search for missing relatives.
The U.N. reported that more than 470,000 people have been displaced from the northeastern states of Yobe, Adamawa and Borno inside Nigeria, while refugees have also been arriving in Cameroon and Chad.
Nigerians, in particular Christians, have been the target of continuous attacks by the Islamic militant group for over four years. Boko Haram has bombed and gunned down churches, congregations, schools and government buildings, openly declaring its mission to drive out Christians and all those opposed to it from the country and establish Islamic rule.
Despite government efforts to fight back against this threat, reports have noted that Boko Haram continues carrying out deadly attacks. Nigerian forces and Islamic militants have waged a number of large-scale battles, with one clash in Yobe in October 2013 leaving 128 people dead, and another attack in Borno earlier in March resulting in 150 casualties.
"Boko Haram is making nonsense of the claim of the Nigerian government to be in charge of the situation, and we want the federal government to redouble its security effort to contain the situation again," said CANAN Executive Director Pastor Laolu Akande.
Another note of concern has been the reported low morale of the Nigerian soldiers battling Boko Haram, and CANAN has challenged the Nigerian Military High Command to address the situation and provide better welfare packages.