In April of 2021 we published and delivered this letter to Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN, District 5). As the only native African serving in the U.S. Congress, we as Nigerians in the diaspora asked her to lend her political and moral power to help free our people. Some of these slaves are Muslims, and Representative Omar has the opportunity to make a stand for peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria by denouncing this violence, and the use of slavery as a weapon of jihad.
We fervently hope that her good will, and the good will of the American people, can help bring a peaceful end to the crisis in Nigeria, and to the existence of what the abolitionist Wole Soyinka called the “open sore of the continent” on African soil today.
AN OPEN LETTER TO ILHAN OMAR
As Vice Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Human Rights
YOU CAN HELP END SLAVERY IN AFRICA
We reach out to you to help free our brothers and sisters currently enslaved in Nigeria. As you may know, in Nigeria, terrorists are abducting, enslaving, and trafficking their fellow Nigerians. Many, like the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 — which inspired Michelle Obama’s “#BringBackOurGirls” hashtag — are Christians, but some are also Muslim. A large percentage are young women and girls taken and trafficked as slave concubines, like 17-year-old Leah Sharibu (pictured), kidnapped from her school in Dapchi. They endure horrendous abuse and physical mistreatment. The Christian girls are forced to convert to a religion not their own; Leah, for example, is still a slave because she chooses to remain a Christian.
We appeal to your commitment to fight for human rights for all peoples. We appeal to you because these girls are living in Nigeria as slaves to Boko Haram jihadists.
We believe that adding your voice to ours can help free those of our people who are in bondage and in fear for their lives.
We therefore ask you to:
- Issue a public statement decrying the capture and enslavement of black Africans, whether Muslim or Christian, by Boko Haram jihadists in Nigeria.
- Discuss with us plans to employ the power of the United States — by force or diplomacy — to emancipate these slaves.
- Help us educate the American public about the plight of Nigerians, both Muslim and Christian, who are being slaughtered, enslaved, and trafficked by religious supremacists.
Pastor Ayo Adedoyin
International Organisation for Peace-building and Social Justice (UK)
Dr. Oluwasayo Ajiboye
President, Mission Africa International
Co-Founder, International Committee on Nigeria
CEO and President, Stefanos Foundation
The Venerable Dr. Samuel Orimogunje and Deborah Orimogunje
Archdeacon for Long Island in the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word
Dr. Gloria Puldu
President, LEAH Foundation
Suleman A. D. Sukukum
Conference of Autochthonous Ethnic Nationalities Community Development Association
Pastor Yakubu Bakfwash: firstname.lastname@example.org