When members of Boko Haram terrorist organization posed as Nigerian military and set up a checkpoint on a busy road, international human rights lawyer Emmanual Ogebe said in a speech at Conway Christian School on Monday night, they were looking for any men who had non-Arabic names or jobs in Nigerian government or education system.
The noise of Boko Haram’s ubiquitous Kalashnikov rifles would have sent the wrong message to what Ogebe said was a line of cars 10 kilometers long "full of people waiting patiently to be killed," but the terrorist group intended to kill a large number of men identified as "infidels" in a short amount of time. So they beheaded over 150 Christians with chainsaws that day, he said.
This was one of several horrific stories of brutality and systematic murder in his home country that Ogebe recounted. His job involves gathering evidence of these murders to present to the International Criminal Court on crimes against humanity in Nigeria and to politicians who might be able to get U.S. and international aid to help his country fight back, which Ogebe said has been slow in coming.
Boko Haram’s tactics are similar to the Islamic State’s recent crimes against humanity in Syria and Iraq, which has prompted U.S. airstrikes and consideration of further U.S. intervention, Ogebe said. He has been frustrated to see the U.S. and its allies rallying against the Islamic State while "the same thing" has been happening in Nigeria for three years. It was only in May of this year that the United Nations Security Council declared Boko Haram a terrorist organization.
Ogebe also said that he was frustrated that the U.S. and some European countries have called for sanctions against Nigeria in light of the passage of laws earlier this year making homosexuality a crime while seemingly ignoring the genocide of Christians there, characterizing the situation as one of "radical Islam" on one side and "radical liberalism" on the other.
Ogebe described Boko Haram as part of a multinational jihad that works in coordination with groups including the Taliban, the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. Funding and arms are suspected to be coming from Pakistan and Iran, and there’s reason to think a Turkish airline had flown in weapons on its passenger planes, he said. Recruitment is easy, mostly because Boko Haram tends to kill those who disagree with their mission.
The group has bombed scores of churches, orchestrated dozens of raids on towns and villages to round up and kill "infidels" and kidnapped 200 girls from a school in April. Some of these girls have escaped, but most are still being held, forcibly converted to Islam and sold as slave wives. In all, they have killed more than 5,000 civilians.
Ogebe also arranges to have Nigerian students brought to the United States, where they can continue their studies without fear of murder or abduction. It takes about $3,000, provided that the students’ immigration process goes smoothly, for a student to be relocated. State Sen. Jason Rapert gave Ogebe a citation from the state legislature and donated $3,000 from his Holy Ghost Ministries organization on Monday night, and said that he would try and give however much more he could. Others in the audience said they’d also donate and gave whatever they had in their pockets.
Ogebe is legal council for the U.S. Nigeria Law Group and Country Representative for the United States Africa Development Foundation, and he lives in Washington, D.C.. His speech was the first of a series of guest lectures at Conway Christian School. Donations to his cause in Nigeria can be made through www.jubileecampaign.org.
(Staff writer Joe Lamb, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1277. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)