RELEASE – Senators Ernst and Grassley Urgently Requesting President Trump to Consider U.S. Special Envoy to Bring Christian Genocide to an End in Nigeria

Save the Persecuted Christians | May 26, 2020

WASHINGTON—This May, Senator Joni Ernst and Senator Charles Grassley delivered letters to President Trump and key political figures, urging them to take action towards rectifying the current Nigerian genocide by considering the appointment of a United States special envoy to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.

Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC), which advocates on behalf of hundreds of millions of Christians facing heavy persecution worldwide, has tirelessly fought to bring light to the violence towards Nigerian Christians and has sponsored an open letter to President Trump and members of Congress beseeching them to intervene.

“We are encouraged that U.S. Senators are lending their voices to our coalition’s urgent request for the presidential appointment of a U.S. Special Envoy for Nigeria and the Lake Chad region where violence against Christians is genocidal, rampant and unrelenting,” said Dede Laugesen, Executive Director of Save the Persecuted Christians. “We pray the Trump administration will move quickly to lead the international community in a concerted response to end the violence and hold the Buhari regime accountable for its failure to stop these attacks, investigate and prosecute the perpetrators, and ensure peace and security for all its citizens no matter their faith.”

In the Senator Ernst letter to President Trump, the Senator described the rapid increase in religiously motivated attacks towards Christians in Africa’s most populous country. The letter states, “according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), violent events involving extremist Fulani militias have resulted in approximately 3,200 fatalities since 2018. ACLED has also recorded over 40,000 fatalities tied to Boko Haram in Nigeria since 2008.”

In 2015, terrorist group Boko Haram, and its splinter group, the Islamic State in West Africa, swore allegiance to ISIS and have been intimidating, threatening and killing Nigerian citizens for decades. The letter details a video by Boko Haram released over Christmas of the beheading of ten Christian detainees. The terrorists described the video as a “message for Christians” in response of the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Senator Ersnt praised President Trump’s direction as a leader, shining light on his 2018 meeting with the President of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari. During the meeting, President Trump requested President Buhari to do, “everything in his power to protect innocent civilians of all faiths. Your directive went viral and the killings stopped for six months. This demonstrates that your leadership can stop the violence and save lives.”

Senator Ernst is not the only political figure to shine a light on the current Nigerian massacre. On May 13, Senator Charles Grassley wrote a letter to Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Brownback urging them to take action against the ever-increasing violence in Nigeria. In the letter, Senator Grassley explains, “2020 attacks against Christians in Nigeria are gaining increased international attention…Alongside this persistent threat from Boko Haram, growing land-use conflicts in Nigeria’s Middle Belt between Muslim Fulani and Christian farmers have exacerbated existing ethnic and religious conflicts.”

These letters stemmed from the tireless efforts of Save the Persecuted Christians coalition partners, the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON), the International Organization for Peace Building and Social Justice (PSJ) and their recently launched #SilentSlaughter campaign.

Stephen Enada, co-founder of ICON, stated, “I applaud Senators Ernst and Grassley for their leadership in this crucial time. The daily innocent killings of Nigerian citizens must stop and more voices need to be raised to demand attention be brought to this issue. We at the International Committee on Nigeria could not be more grateful for the public call to action by these two Senators and look forward to working with them to bring hope and transformation throughout Nigeria.”

The mission of Save the Persecuted Christians is to save lives and save souls by disseminating actionable information about the magnitude of the persecution taking place globally and by mobilizing concerned Americans for the purpose of disincentivizing further attacks on those who follow Jesus.

With so much of the world’s Christian population being imprisoned and/or harassed for their beliefs, like Christians in Nigeria, the need has never been greater for the sort of grassroots campaign STPC’s SaveUs Movement is working to foster. Its efforts are modeled after a miraculously successful one that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution—Soviet Jews—by penalizing those in the Kremlin responsible for such repression. Through this movement, Save the Persecuted Christiansendeavors to provide American policymakers with the popular support they need to effect real change worldwide and alleviate systemically the suffering being experienced by so many of those following Christ.


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