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Petition Drive against Boko Haram Faces Saturday Deadline

Men believed to be members of Islamist sect Boko Haram are suspected of being involved in a series of bomb attacks, wait for the start of a court session at the Wuse magistrate court in Nigeria's capital Abuja, September 13, 2011.
The Jubilee Campaign, a US-based organization advocating on behalf of persecuted Christians has petitioned the White House to designate Boko Haram a “foreign terrorist organization.”

The militant group is responsible for killing an estimated 3,000
Nigerians and citizens of nine other countries -- primarily Christians. Jubilee Campaign said it needs 23,000 more signatures by Saturday [December 29] to reach its goal of 25,000.

The United States has designated three Boko Haram leaders as terrorists, but stopped short of labeling the entire group as a terrorist organization.

Nigerian-born Emmanuel Ogebe of Dallas, Texas says Boko Haram bombed his cousin’s church on Christmas Day 2011.

He told reporter said it is high time that the United States recognizes the global threat that Boko Haram represents.

“Boko Haram has proved to be one of the most lethal terrorist groups on the planet today, and it is not getting the attention from the international community that it deserves. So, I think, it is high time the international community recognizes the global threat that it [Boko Haram] represents,” he said.

Ogebe said designating the Islamist sect a foreign terrorist group would allow the United States to freeze and seize the group’s bank accounts, arrest and deport its members and associates, and impose sanctions on countries that fund the group.

“When you have a problem and you do not rightfully recognize it, you are not halfway through to resolving it. But, when we realize that this is a group that has taken the lives of people from nine countries, in addition to the about 3,000 Nigerians that have been killed in the past three years, then the international community will begin to trace its funds,” Ogebe said.
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He described Boko Haram as the most sophisticated terror group to ever operate in Nigeria.

“The suicide bombings, the IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices] and so forth indicate that they have a high level support and technological armament, most of which are not produced on the African continent,” he said.

Ogebe described as cosmetic the US government designation of three Boko Haram leaders earlier this year as terrorists, but stopping short of labeling the entire group as a terrorist organization.

“That was a very cosmetic measure taken by the United States government, and it is actually illogical because it is like saying that [President] Barack [Obama] and [Vice President] Joe Biden are members of the Democratic Party, but the Democratic Party did not win the US election. Obama and Biden are part and parcel of the Democratic Party,” Ogebe said.

He said those interested in signing up for the petition can visit the following website:

“I know it’s a tall order to try and get 23,500 signatures by Saturday, but I believe a lot of listeners of this show are people who care about human rights and human lives, and people who are willing to take few minutes to make a statement and say that the United States should designate the killers of those innocent people, who were killed on Christmas Day, just for going to church,” Ogebe said.

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