On Saturday, July 24, at noon, the Committee to Free Nigerian Slaves (CFNS) will protest the enslavement of Nigerians by jihadists in Nigeria. The protest will be held at 87 Commerce Street in Newark, New Jersey. Nigerian pastors and leaders will speak about the mass murder and enslavement of Nigerians in what has been a cruel religious war.
CFNS, an organization of Nigerian and Nigerian American human rights activists and their respective groups, hopes the protest can raise awareness of the horrors Nigerians face. It seeks to garner the attention of New Jersey Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, and Representatives Donald Payne, Jr., Albio Sires, Chris Smith, and Thomas Suozzi. Representative Smith has been fighting for human rights in Africa for more than 25 years.
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.
CFNS member Stephen Enada, president of the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON), said today, “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. We can no longer sit in silence as our brothers and sisters are being captured and enslaved.”
According to the CFNS, in 2021 alone, hundreds of schoolchildren in Nigeria have been kidnapped. Most are young women and girls taken by force and trafficked as slave concubines. An example — displayed on the billboard is 18-year-old Leah Sharibu, kidnapped in 2018.
Dr. Gloria Puldu, president of the LEAH Foundation, said today, “Nigerian women and girls like Leah Sharibu, enslaved by Boko Haram terrorists, should never be abandoned in captivity. Christian girls like Leah are pressed by the terrorists to convert to a faith not their own.”
“The international community and our leaders in Nigeria must stop living in a state of denial,” said Pastor Samuel Tunju Ayeni of the Nigerian Faith-Based Organization. “We must do better than this before it is too late.”
Pastor Festus Ezeji of Resurrection Power Fellowship Ministry said, “We are calling on the U.S. government to intervene and ensure that no repeat of modern day slavery is permitted in Nigeria.”
“We need to come together to stop the killings in our fathers’ land,” said Dr. Michael Ogunleye, pastor at Graceland Gospel Church and president of the African Association of Christians and Clergy. “The current government doesn’t care for other group except one group this has to stop.”
“The security situation in Nigeria as of today is disheartening. We want a safe Nigeria. A country to which we will feel confident to take our children and friends for visits,” said the Honorable Olamide Davies Talabi, a human rights activist and Newark Taxi Commissioner. “Nigeria is a blessed country both in resources and people. All hands must be on deck to secure its people.”
The website, www.freenigerianslaves.org, has been created in order to educate the public about this issue.