Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins announced today that the President has signed into law bipartisan legislation she authored aimed at stopping the spread of the terrorist organization Boko Haram. The new law will strengthen the United States’ response to Boko Haram’s brazen and vicious acts of terrorism. Senator Collins’ legislation unanimously passed the Senate in September of 2015 and unanimously passed the House last week.
Senator Collins’ legislation requires a new five-year U.S. government strategy to counter the threat of Boko Haram and assist the Government of Nigeria in addressing the legitimate grievances of vulnerable populations affected by this terrorist organization.
“Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to ISIS and continues to commit terrible acts of brutal violence against civilians in Nigeria as well as in Chad, Cameroon, and Niger. This new law, which received strong bipartisan support, signals a renewed commitment to pursuing Boko Haram and bolstering U.S. efforts throughout the region. The already dire situation there will continue to worsen if the current trajectory is not significantly altered,” Senator Collins stated. “By definition, Boko Haram means Western education is forbidden. As we develop this comprehensive five-year strategy, we will send an international signal that we will never forget the girls of Nigeria who were targeted simply because they chose to pursue an education.”
In 2014, in response to Boko Haram’s kidnapping of the 276 school girls in Nigeria, Senator Collins, joined by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), led all twenty women Senators in urging Secretary Kerry to seek Boko Haram’s addition to the United Nation’s al-Qaeda Sanctions List. Following this letter, the United Nations Security Council voted to subject Boko Haram to a complete asset freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo.
Co-sponsors of Senator Collins’ legislation included eighteen Senators: Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patty Murray (R-WA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), David Vitter (R-LA), and James Inhofe (R-OK).