On Saturday, June 5, at 10 A.M., the Committee to Free Nigerian Slaves (CFNS) will protest jihadists’ enslavement of Nigerians at the corner of 72nd and Dodge Street in Omaha, Nebraska. Nigerian pastors and leaders will speak about the mass murder and enslavement of Nigerians in what has been a cruel religious war. The CFNS is an organization of Nigerian and Nigerian American human rights activists and their respective groups.

The purpose of the rally is to gain the attention of Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who is a member of the U.S. Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence and has spoken out against religious persecution in the past. He is in a position to take our information and use it to force the U.S. to put pressure on the Nigerian government to forcibly free the slaves.

Since 2001, Boko Haram terrorists, Fulani militants, and other extremist groups tied to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, have raided Nigerian villages, killed tens of thousands, and enslaved an untold number of women and children.

CFSN member Stephen Enada, president of the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON), said today, “In Nigeria, jihad terrorists are storming our villages and murdering our people. So far this year over 1,500 Nigerians who are mostly Christians, have been murdered by these jihadists and over 2,000 people have been abducted or kidnapped. The situation is dire. We can no longer sit in silence as our brothers and sisters in Nigeria are being captured and enslaved.”

According to the CFNS, in 2021 alone, hundreds of schoolchildren in Nigeria have been kidnapped. Parents fear sending their children to school. School-aged children are terrorized. Most of the individuals captured by Boko Haram jihadists are young women and girls taken by force and trafficked as slave concubines. They endure horrendous abuse and mistreatment. An example of one of these victims is displayed on the billboard: she is 18-year-old Leah Sharibu, kidnapped from her school in Dapchi, Nigeria, in 2018. 

“Nigerian women and girls like Leah Sharibu who are enslaved by Boko Haram terrorists should never be abandoned or forgotten in captivity,” said CFNS member Dr. Gloria Puldu, president of the LEAH Foundation, an organization which represents the Sharibu family and lobbies for Leah’s release. Christian girls like Leah are pressed by the terrorists to convert to a faith not her own.” 

“I’m confident that if we bring these facts to more people, more people will get angry and start making a difference,” said Samuel Akough, a local Nigerian American activist from Omaha.

Nigeria is ranked third in the 2020 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) of countries most impacted by terrorism. Since 2014, Fulani militants — a small, extremist portion of the Fulani people — have accelerated the conflict with Nigerian Christians at an alarming rate. Fulani militants are reportedly responsible for 7,400 deaths since 2015, targeting and attacking whole communities, schools, and households. Boko Haram has formally pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, and, since 2009, it is believed responsible for murdering approximately 30,000 innocent people and displacing perhaps two million.

All Americans — across the political spectrum — should join in this effort to emancipate today’s slaves. 

The website, www.FreeNigerianSlaves.org, has been created in order to educate the public.