Nigerian Brethren Write Petition to United Nations

Photo by Stan Noffsinger
EYN president Samuel Dali (center) leads the Majalisa or annual conference of the Nigerian Brethren, earlier this year.

Samuel Dante Dali, president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has written a petition to the United Nations. The two documents–a letter and a review of the situation of violence in Nigeria–concern “what is happening to us in Nigeria,” Dali wrote in a cover note to Global Mission and Service executive Jay Wittmeyer, to whom he copied the petition. “Thanks again for your love for Nigeria and assistance,” Dali wrote.

Wittmeyer and Roy Winter, associate executive of Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries, plan a trip to Nigeria in August to assist EYN to design a crisis management plan.

Petition to the UN

The petition to the United Nations includes a letter signed by EYN president Samuel Dali, accompanied by a lengthy document titled “Report on the Genocide of Christians in North Eastern Nigeria: The Time to Act is Now.”

“I am appealing to the international community to show solidarity with a section of humanity that is threatened to being eradicated from the face of the earth,” the letter said, in part. “These are people, women and men, youth and children who are being slaughtered, abducted, enslaved, and reduced to sexual objects. These have the right to peacefully live and enjoy their freedom of belief, and the right to live with dignity in their land in Northern Nigeria, and neighboring countries. To be precise, these are innocent people who have been harassed, intimidated and many of whom are murdered….

“We plead with the United Nation as foremost international organization to put all its effort and influence to assist the government of Nigeria stop the current murderous carnage, a crime against humanity.”

Find the full text of the petition below.

Another EYN church burned

The Vanguard newspaper of Nigeria reported on July 14, at AllAfrica.com, that “gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram sect invaded Dille Village in Askira-Uba Local Government Area of Borno State and opened fire on residents, setting ablaze three churches, including the Church of Brethren in Nigeria (EYN), as well as, shops and residential buildings.”

The news came from people who had fled the attack, who said that the attackers were heavily armed, and that the attack was still ongoing. The Nigerian Air Force sent fighter jets to repel the attackers, the newspaper said.

Nigerian Brethren in the news in the US

After her presentations at Annual Conference, Rebecca Dali spoke at several Church of the Brethren locations before flying back to Nigeria this week. While in Iowa, her presentations were covered by the WFC Courier of Waterloo and KWWL TV Channel 7. Find those reports at  http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/nigerian-talks-of-religious-war-kidnapped-girls/article_fb122dd5-b9b0-565a-9fc1-b422c9c34886.html and www.kwwl.com/story/26001089/2014/07/11/nigerian-woman-speaks-out-about-terrorists-groups-in-nigeria .

Also in the news was a visit to the Peter Becker Community in Pennsylvania by EYN member Ali Abbas Apagu, who also had attended the Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio. “According to Apagu, the support from members of the Church of the Brethren in the United States has been ‘overwhelming,’”said The Reporter News of Landale, Pa. “The event was opened with a time for prayer before Apagu spoke about the recent violence against Christians in Nigeria by the Boko Haram insurgent group. After a question and answer segment, the members of Peter Becker Community gathered around Apagu and prayed for Nigeria.” Read the full report at www.thereporteronline.com/general-news/20140711/nigerian-church-of-the-brethren-member-visits-peter-becker-community-speaks-about-violence-power-of-prayer .

Full text of the petition to the United Nations

To the Secretary General of the United Nations
The United Nations Security Council
The General Assembly of the United Nations

Dear Sir or Madam and honorable members of the United Nations

On behalf of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, in humility and tears, I am appealing to the honorable members of the United Nations, who, I believe are deeply concerned about the peace of the world and the rights of every human being. We would like to draw your attention to the magnitude of the damage and the threat of murderous actions of Boko Haram against members of our community and other Christians in Northern Nigeria.

Since the beginning of the Boko Haram terrorist activities in 2009: the perennial killings of people, the destruction of properties and the kidnapping of women, church leaders, and school girls have increased to potentially leading to a genocide of Christians in Northern Nigeria in general and in particular, the members of our community.

As I am writing this appeal, there are 1,941 houses and properties that belong to our members that have been burnt, Now, 2,679 members of our community including women and children have been displaced from their ancestral native lands. These people have now lost their houses and properties. They are living homeless, with their women and children, without food and clean water. They camp under trees to find shelter and live as refuges either in Cameroon or in other states within the country. These displaced people who are mostly farmers cannot go and work on their farm this year. Those who have attempted to go back to their farm are either killed or chased away. Also, over 35,000 of their children cannot go to school, which means, the future for such children is in danger of being lost.

It is in light of these that I am appealing to the international community to show solidarity with a section of humanity that is threatened to being eradicated from the face of the earth. These are people, women and men, youth and children who are being slaughtered, abducted, enslaved, and reduced to sexual objects. These have the right to peacefully live and enjoy their freedom of belief, and the right to live with dignity in their land in Northern Nigeria, and neighboring countries. To be precise, these are innocent people who have been harassed, intimidated and many of whom are murdered. The latest horror that partly mobilized the international community has been the abduction of more than two hundred girls. This tragedy severally hit our community in that Boko Haram has kidnapped 178 girls who belong to our community, including a pregnant wife of one of our pastors and three of her children. Hence, we plead with the United Nation as foremost international organization to put all its effort and influence to assist the government of Nigeria stop the current murderous carnage, a crime against humanity.

Yours faithfully
REV. Dr. Samuel Dante Dali
The President of the Church of the Brethren

To the Secretary General of the United Nations,
The United Nations Security Council
The General Assembly of the United Nations.

A Report on the Genocide of Christians in North Eastern Nigeria: The Time to Act is Now.

Understanding the Undergirding Issues of the Current Crisis and the Religious Cleaning that is Perpetrated.

“There is no greater sorrow on earth than the loss of one’s native land.” Euripides, 431 BC,

With the above statement from one of the famous Greek philosophers I make this special appeal to you men and women of peace.

Presently, Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group together with al-Qaeda terrorists groups from North Africa are plotting to wipe Nigerian Christians out of the face of the earth from their native land.

As I am presenting this petition, there is every probability that some Christians are being slaughtered in North Eastern Nigeria right now. There is every probability too that a church or the houses of Christians in North Eastern Nigeria are burnt or destroyed right now.

This is the harrowing situations Christians in Northern Nigeria and particularly the North East sub-region have found themselves in as it is in the present day Nigeria in the hands of the Islamic terrorist group called Boko Haram.

On behalf of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (The EYN Church), I, as president, present this petition.

The Church of the Brethren in Nigeria is one of the worst affected Churches and if not the worst affected by the Boko Haram terrorists activities in Nigeria.

The Church of the Brethren in Nigeria has 550,000 baptised communicant members and over five million worshippers on each service day every Sunday.

It is worth mentioning that the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria is the largest national body of Church of the Brethren in the world.

It has its Headquarters in Mubi Adamawa State Nigeria which is amongst the three states where the Boko Haram atrocities is most devastating.

The records available as at the time of compiling this presentation on the 9th of June 2014 show that the Church incurred the following lost and damages.

Boko Haram terrorists have killed 517 members of the Church. Find attached the names of the murdered Church members.

Six district church council have been closed down and 52 local churches have been burnt down and their properties looted or destroyed completely.

1,941 houses and properties of members have been burnt.

Boko Haram has kidnapped 178 members of the Church.

2, 679 members including their women and children have been displaced from their ancestral native lands.

These people who lost their houses and properties are now living homeless, with their women and children without food and good water.

These displaced people who are mostly farmers cannot go and work on their farm this year, as those who attempted are either killed or chased away from the farm.

Over 35,000 of their children cannot go school.

I make haste to state here that because of the rural nature of our Churches and poor communication facilities, this report is the one from semi-urban and urban Churches.

Find attached as an appendix the summary of killing and destruction done to the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria by Boko Haram Islamic terrorists.

Killings and destructions have not all been reported.

What is highly disturbing about all this genocide on Christians is that it is in connivance with some well placed political and Islamic leaders within and outside of Nigeria.

The ongoing pandemic genocide by the Boko Haram Islamic terrorists’ ethnic and religiously motivated violence, burning of and destruction of churches and Christian homes is a crime against humanity which the UN must act to address urgently before it will be worse than Rwanda and Darfur put together.

The carnage by Boko Haram Islamic terrorists is exacerbated by spurious reports being carried by Hausa language services of foreign media like the BBC Hausa, VOA Hausa, Radio France International Hausa and the Germany DW radio Hausa services.  As I present this petition, life in North Eastern Nigeria has descended into unimaginable, uncontrolled bloodshed.

Images flowing out of the country paint a scene of unprecedented carnage. The photographs attached below are a clear proof of why the UN must intervene now.

Let me quote from a well publicised article by Gary K. Busch, author and political analyst. “The genocide by Boko Haram on Northern Christians is purely for political power. In 2010, when it became apparent that Goodluck Jonathan would contest in 2011, Alhaji Lawal Kaita a leading political figure in the North had warned that should Jonathan contest and win in 2011 Nigeria would be made ungovernable. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was more poetic.  Jonathan’s National Security Adviser then, General Gusau resigned to contest against him. All northern contestants banded together to support Atiku Abubakar. At their political party “PDP” Convention of December 2010 when it was obvious that delegates were rooting for Jonathan, Atiku Abubukar,a contestant at a political forum quoted Frantz Fanon saying “those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable.”

These are the precursor statements to the post-election violence that took place in 2011 even before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) finished announcing the results of the Presidential Election of that year. Those violent incidents that claimed the lives of hundreds in Bauchi, Maiduguri, Gombe, Yola, Kano, Minna and Kaduna have not abated in the guise of Boko Haram.

“The jihadists fighting for Boko Haram are said to have been trained in eight different countries namely Sudan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Egypt and the Niger Republic. They travelled as a group and received basic and advanced training. As proof of the success of their training they sport a mark (tattoo) showing proficiency. The mark is in the form of a sword held in a hand. Those who went through the training regard it as the ‘license to kill for Allah’. They included Ali Baba Nur, Asari Dokubo, Mohammed Yusuf, Salisu Maigari, Danlami Abubakar, Ali Qaqa, Maigari Haliru and Asabe Dantala.”

It is true that the duty to prevent and halt genocide and mass atrocities lies first and foremost with each individual State, but the international community has a role that cannot be blocked by the invocation of sovereignty. Sovereignty no longer exclusively protects States from foreign interference; it is a charge of responsibility where States are accountable for the welfare of their people. This principle is enshrined in article 1 of the Genocide Convention and embodied in the principle of “sovereignty as responsibility” and in the concept of the Responsibility to Protect.
As it is now, the Nigerian state has not succeeded to overcome this serious challenge to its mandate to protect all the people of Nigeria specially the Christians living in the North East sub-region of Nigeria.

There are reports that the Nigeria armed forces and other security organisations may have been compromised and that they have been infiltrated by Boko Haram elements.

Many reports have that the Nigerian military commanders have been known to divulge troop movement and locations to Boko Haram that has always led to the troops being ambushed by the Boko Haram fighters. In fact that led to mutiny recently in one of the military barracks. We still count of the government protection of all its citizens. We are Nigerian citizens.

Our requests as a Church are as follows:

We earnestly appeal to the Nigerian government to protect its citizens particularly the Christians in the North East from mass murder by Boko Haram Islamic terrorists. Given the scope of this religious cleansing, across states, we urge the UN to come under the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) on humanitarian grounds

1. To protect us from total annihilation by Boko Haram.

2.To arrest the genocide on Christians in North Eastern Nigeria in particular and Northern Nigeria in general, we seek the immediate deployment of UN peace keeping and peace enforcement troops in the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe until peace is permanently returned.

3. I urge the General Assembly of the UN under the Article 111, which prevents the genocide on any group, should allow the world powers to use drones to track and take out all the Boko Haram terrorists’ camps in Sambisa forest in Nigeria and wherever they are located in West and Central African regions.

4. Since the Nigerian government has failed in its primary responsibility to protect its citizens in North Eastern Nigeria, the UN should declare the above three state as a UN territory as it did in the Darfur region of Sudan.

We as a Church urge the Security Council to invoked R2P for the deployment of the above measures to protect Christians in North Eastern Nigeria.

We note that the Security Council of the UN has invoked the R2P in a number of resolutions: three times in 2006, once in 2009, six times in 2011, twice in 2012, seven times in 2013 and at least four times in 2014.

The Human Rights Council has also invoked R2P in a number of resolutions, most recently on the situations in Syria.

Today, “our world continues to be confronted with different challenges of global reach and impact,” including poverty and hunger; unemployment; myriad impacts of climate change; armed conflicts; and emerging security threats such as transnational organized crime, terrorism, piracy and human trafficking of which terrorism by this Boko Haram is the most deadly because it has spread into Cameroon, Chad and Central African Republic.

“Collectively, we must continue to take concerted action to address these challenges. This is what has made the United Nations a strong, unique and indispensable organization.

The world cannot sit by as whole towns and cities are depopulated by grotesque bloodletting and unprecedented murder by Boko Haram.

North east Nigeria requires the world’s long-term commitment to end the bloodshed, secure peace and facilitate inclusive dialogue, and to recover its landscape from what can only be described as catastrophic destruction.

Boko Haram massacre of Christians in North east Nigeria is a perfect example of a major tragedy occurring in front of our eyes with no one taking decisive action to stop this tragedy once and for all. Our protection has not been secured par local, regional or federal leaders. The killings continue.

We trust that prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, are an intrinsic part of your noble mandate. To bring about in conformity with the principles of justice and international law…”Article One UN Charter” will ultimately benefit all people groups.

The Church of the Brethren in Nigeria strongly calls on United Nations and its members to heed to the demands of the endangered remaining population in the North east of Nigeria now. Indifference and staying silent in the face of tragedy that has befallen the Christians in North Eastern Nigeria is not an option for this great assembly.

To arrest the genocide on Christians in North Eastern Nigeria in particular and Northern Nigeria in general, we once more seek the immediate deployment of UN peace keeping and peace enforcement troops  in the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe until peace is permanently returned.

Since the efforts of the Nigerian government has as yet resulted in stopping the massacre, abductions, sufferings, and predicament of Christians, we call upon the UN as an International organization to intervene. Because one of the primary responsibilities of the Nigerian government, that of protecting all its citizens has not yet been secured, (It may even become necessary for the UN to declare the above three state as a UN territory as it did in the Darfur region of Sudan.

We urge the United Nations and in a concerted effort with the Western democratic nations to act quickly as they have done in Syria, Iraq and even Darfur region of Sudan. To neglect the suffering Christians of North Eastern Nigeria at the mercy of the Boko haram Islamic terrorists who have brutally ransacked all the Christian communities from their native land is not an option.

The worst hit is our Church, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN Church), which has its Headquarters in Mubi, Adamawa State Nigeria.

It is true that there are many conflicts going on globally at the moment but the pogrom by Boko Haram and the Northern Nigeria states government deserve a special attention to starve the complete annihilation and extermination of the remaining Christian population.

As at the last count, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria has lost 750 Churches to the attack of the Islamic terrorists group Boko Haram.

This august assembly has enough grounds to intervene in the situation in North Eastern Nigeria.

This august assembly must not wait until 800,000 innocent people like in Rwanda are killed before they will intervene. Now is the time to take action to prevent this catastrophe in North Eastern Nigeria which has actually spread to the Republic of Cameroun, Chad and some part of Central African Republic from escalating beyond control.

I thank you for your time.

Long Live the United Nations General Assembly.

Thank You,

Reverend (Dr) Samuel D. Dali
President
Church of the Brethren in Nigeria.