Senator Collins and Congresswoman Wilson Lead Letter Requesting Update on Administration’s Efforts to Combat Boko Haram

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins and U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson led a bipartisan group of 50 Members of Congress in writing to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, requesting an update on their efforts to counter Boko Haram. 

In December 2016, legislation introduced by Senator Collins and Congresswoman Wilson was signed into law requiring the Administration to develop a comprehensive plan to help the Nigerian government and its partners combat Boko Haram and address the legitimate concerns of affected, vulnerable populations. Senator Collins and Congresswoman Wilson’s legislation, which responded to the terrorist organization’s kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria in 2014, directs the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of National Intelligence to submit to Congress a five-year anti-Boko Haram strategy by June 12, 2017.

“While we were encouraged by the release of 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls last week, it is imperative that we remember that many of the girls remain in captivity along with untold hundreds of other women, men, and children who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram,” Senator Collins and Congresswoman Wilson wrote. “…[W]e look forward to receiving an update on your efforts to develop an anti-Boko Haram strategy and beginning the process of dismantling Boko Haram and reuniting all of the Chibok schoolgirls with their families.”

Senator Collins and Congresswoman Wilson’s letter was cosigned by:

Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), James Inhofe (R-OK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE-01), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY-09), Robin L. Kelly (D-IL-02), Barbara J. Lee (D-CA-13), Hank C. Johnson Jr. (D-GA-04), Maxine Waters (D-CA-43), Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA-02), James E. Clyburn (D-SC-06), A Green (D-TX-09), Lacy W. Clay, Jr. (D-MO-01), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH-11), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18), Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA-02), Karen R. Bass (D-CA-37), Joyce B. Beatty (D-OH-03), Alma S. Adams (D-NC-12), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30), Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY-05), Danny K. Davis (D-IL-07), A. Donald McEachin (D-VA-04), John R. Lewis (D-GA-05), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS-02), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL-01), Valdez B. Demings (D-FL-10), Donald Payne (D-NJ-10), Sean P. Maloney (D-NY-18), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL-20), Colleen W. Hanabusa (D-HI-01), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT-03), Brenda L. Lawrence (D-MI-14), Jackie Speier (D-CA-14), Lois J. Frankel (D-FL-21), G.K. Butterfield, Jr. (D-NC-01), Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD-05), Bobby C. Scott (D-VA-03), Stacey E. Plaskett (D-VI-01), Dina C. Titus (D-NV-01), Debbie Insley Dingell (D-MI-12), Gwen S. Moore (D-WI-04), Al Lawson (D-FL-05), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-01), and David N. Cicilline (D-RI-01).

Click HERE for a signed copy of the letter. The full text of the letter is below.

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Dear Secretaries Tillerson, Mattis, and Director Coats:

We write to respectfully request an update on your efforts to jointly develop a five-year strategy to help the Nigerian government and its partners to combat Boko Haram and address the legitimate concerns of affected, vulnerable populations. Public Law-114-266, signed December 14th, 2016, requires this strategy be submitted to Congress by June 12, 2017.

The law requires the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Director of National Intelligence to jointly develop and submit to Congress a five-year anti-Boko Haram strategy within 180 days of its enactment. This strategy should include plans to assist the Nigerian government, the Multinational Joint Task Force, and international partners to counter the regional threat posed by Boko Haram, enhance Nigeria’s capacity to provide safe and secure schools, provide humanitarian support, and strengthen and promote the rule of law and human rights.

It has been more than three years since the terrorist group, Boko Haram, kidnapped 276 Nigerian schoolgirls from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok. Since that day, the Chibok schoolgirls have been held in captivity by this terrorist organization, which prides itself on abducting, burning, raping and butchering innocent people. In response to the kidnapping and growing atrocities committed by Boko Haram, Congress unanimously passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Susan Collins and Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson and cosponsored by the signers of this letter, S. 1632/H.R. 3833, which became Public Law-114-266.

While we were encouraged by the release of 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls last week, it is imperative that we remember that many of the girls remain in captivity along with untold hundreds of other women, men, and children who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram. As we approach June 12, the 180-day deadline set by Public Law-114-266, we look forward to receiving an update on your efforts to develop an anti-Boko Haram strategy and beginning the process of dismantling Boko Haram and reuniting all of the Chibok schoolgirls with their families.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this urgent matter.