Nigeria Unite, a non-governmental organization, has called for United Nations intervention to help Abuja resolve Nigeria's security challenges following increased attacks by Islamist militant group Boko Haram.
Holding a series of protests at the U.N. general assembly in New York demanding immediate action, Pastor Peters Ichelu, one of the group's leading member, says it appears the administration in Abuja has been unable to end the violenc despite efforts to do so.
If not halted, Ichelu said, Nigeria’s security challenges could spread to neighboring countries in both West and Central African regions.
“We want the UN to take a critical look at the insecurity situation and the insurgency in Nigeria with the expected immediacy, because our problem in Nigeria can engulf the whole of Africa, and that is our concern,” said Ichelu. “There should be an immediate intervention. It should not be looked upon as a Nigerian situation, it is an African situation, it is a world [problem].”
Backed by security advisers from western countries, the Nigerian military has been battling Boko Haram militants in parts of the country’s north where the insurgents continue to launch attacks on the civilian population.
But, Ichelu said the support appears not to have helped end the violence.
“[The help] is not enough, we cannot sleep on our oars,” said Ichelu. “The insurgents themselves have to feel the pressure. We want the insurgents to know that we may not have weapons to fight them, but we are fighting them with pressure. They should know that our country is precious to us and that we are attacking them with our emotions. This is very important to us.”
Ichelu said security agencies have yet to convince citizens they are capable of getting the job done by defeating the militants and ending the violence.
Ichelu expressed concern that the militants have so far been successful in launching attacks because of what he said has been the lack of national cohesion among the various ethnic and religious groups in the country.
“To be very frank with you, Nigeria was asleep. Our leadership has been asleep, our citizens have been complacent, [but] this problem has awakened us and we want all Nigerians to be united to fight the insurgency,” said Ichelu. “Insurgents capitalize on disunity. They capitalize on local problems and so they took advantage of our disunity and tried to divide us along ethnic, religious and whatever lines they chose to break us up and divide and rule us.”