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Letter to the Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan

Letter to Dr Jonathan Goodluck, the president of Nigeria, about the 200 abducted young women. This is the second letter to the president since Rev. Tveit's first letter on May 5, 2014.

06 November 2014

Letter to:
The Hon. Dr Goodluck Jonathan
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja
Nigeria

Dear President Jonathan,

Churches around the world are deeply concerned about the abduction of the more than 200 young women studying at the Chibok boarding school in north-eastern Nigeria. Their parents still to this day remain without information as to their wellbeing or any concrete prospect of their return. This situation is totally unacceptable. I refer to my letter of May 5, 2014, where I call upon the government of Nigeria to intensify its efforts to ensure the wellbeing and release of the abducted girls.

Now the World Council of Churches has learned with dismay that on 29 October 2014 the headquarters of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) and Kulp Bible College, which are located in the village of Kwarhi, as well as churches in the nearby town of Mubi in Borno State, north-east Nigeria, were attacked and seized by elements linked to Boko Haram. In the course of the attack, there was substantial loss of life, and many local people have fled. We have heard that several thousand people have travelled to the Cameroon border, seeking refuge from the violence. They have immediate needs for food, shelter, medication and clothes. Our partner organization, the Christian Council of Nigeria, is working with others to respond to this need.

The World Council of Churches wishes to offer our support and solidarity to the whole people of Nigeria, and to you and your government in addressing this situation and the increasing insecurity and displacement of communities in the north-east of the country. However, I am concerned and moved to read the statement made by Dr Samuel Dante Dali, the President of EYN: “We need urgent help from the international community if the global community can have compassion on us… The future of Nigeria is getting darker and darker day by day, but Nigerian political leadership do not seem to take the suffering of the people very seriously. The government of Nigeria with all its security seems very weak and helpless in handling the crisis.”

On behalf of the worldwide ecumenical community, I must stress that it is vital that the government take immediate, proactive, effective and visible steps to protect all the people of Nigeria and work strategically to defend them against such attacks, as well as to ensure the welfare of those who have been the victims of such attacks, abduction and displacement. The forthcoming elections and campaigning commitments must not distract you from the most fundamental obligation and moral responsibility of government to provide for the security of the Nigerian people.

I hope that you will be able to respond meaningfully and swiftly to the suffering of your people in north-east Nigeria, and I pray that God will strengthen you for the fulfilment of your responsibilities in this regard.

Respectfully,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary