The massacres perpetrated by the terrorist sect Boko Haram in Nigeria were vehemently condemned by the European Parliament in a vote on Thursday. MEPs urge the Nigerian authorities to do their utmost to end the violence and tackle the root causes of the terrorism, including corruption. Parliament also urges Nigeria’s neighbours and the international community to cooperate with efforts to starve Boko Haram of income and prevent it spreading terror abroad.
MEPs strongly condemn the wave of gun and bomb attacks, suicide bombings, sexual slavery and other sexual violence, kidnappings and other violent acts committed by Boko Haram against civilian, government and military targets in Nigeria.
They note that these acts could constitute crimes against humanity, and praise journalists and human rights defenders for drawing the world’s attention to Boko Haram’s extremism and the innocent victims of its violence.
Everything possible must be done to find and free the 276 girls Boko Haram abducted from the school in Chibok more than a year ago, and the estimated 2,000 more girls and women it has abducted since then, MEPs stress.
Tackle root causes of violence
MEPs congratulate Nigeria’s newly-elected President Muhammad Buhari, and call on him to deliver on his campaign promises to devote all his resources into ending Boko Haram’s violence, re-establishing stability and security across the country and tackling the root causes of this terrorism.
Firmer action is needed against internal corruption, mismanagement and inefficiencies within the public institutions and the army, MEPs point out. They also insist that the fight against terrorism must respect human rights and the rule of law.
Step up regional and international response
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other regional players should step up their response to Boko Haram’s terrorism and contain cross-border illicit flows of arms and fighters, in line with international law, MEPs say.
They warn that without such cooperation, the violence is likely to continue and undermine peace and stability across the region, and call on the African Union (AU) to coordinate, with all countries involved, the fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel region.
MEPs also urge the international community to help Nigerian refugees in neighbouring countries, and call on EU member states to fulfil their commitment to providing a comprehensive range of political, development and humanitarian support for the efforts of Nigeria and its people to tackle the Boko Haram threat.
Cut off resources
The Nigerian authorities must cooperate with neighbouring countries in taking measures to starve Boko Haram of its illegal income, especially from smuggling and trafficking, MEPs say. They also urge the EU to strive to enhance the transparency of trade in all natural resources, including oil, so as to prevent any company from fuelling conflicts.
The non-legislative resolution was passed by 516 votes to 11, with 36 abstentions.
Boko Haram’s violence has led to more than 22,000 deaths since 2009, says the text. The UN estimates that the violence in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states has displaced 1.5 million people, including 800,000 children, and that more than 3 million people have been affected by the insurgency. More than 300,000 Nigerians have fled to north-western Cameroon and south western Niger to escape the violence, notes the text.