With the 114th Congress coming to a close, U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., advanced one of her chief legislative priorities this week as the U.S. House passed her measure to take on Boko Haram.
Wilson sponsored a measure mandating the State and Defense departments hammer our a five-year plan to aid the Nigerian government and other international partners battling Boko Haram which is responsible for 20,000 deaths and for creating a refugee crisis in Nigeria.
In recent months, Wilson has been one of the more vocal critics of Boko Haram and a high profile supporter of bringing attention to that terrorist group’s kidnapping of girls and young women.
On Wednesday, after the House passed her bill on voice vote, Wilson returned to that theme.
“Boko Haram captured my attention and the headlines when the terrorist group kidnapped 276 Nigerian schoolgirls from their dormitory rooms 968 days ago,” Wilson said. “For most of the world, the Chibok girls symbolize the horror that is Boko Haram, but the damage its members have wrought goes far deeper."
In the Senate, the bill has been championed by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who praised Wilson on Wednesday.
“Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to ISIS and continues to commit terrible acts of brutal violence against civilians in Nigeria as well as in Chad, Cameroon, and Niger,” Collins said. “Rep. Frederica Wilson was a willing and able partner in the effort to pass this bipartisan legislation, which requires a five-year strategy to pursue Boko Haram and will bolster U.S. efforts throughout the region. I urge the president to immediately sign this bill into law and send an international signal that we will never forget the girls of Nigeria who were targeted simply because they chose to pursue an education.”
In the meantime, Wilson is continuing other efforts to bring attention to the matter including the #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign and “Wear Something Red Wednesday” as members of Congress wear red to raise awareness of the issue. Wilson joined U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., the chairwoman of the Republican Conference in launching “Wear Something Red Wednesday.”
“We will continue to wear red every Wednesday until the last Chibok girl being held hostage has returned home,” Wilson insisted on Wednesday. “If the world does not act and come to Nigeria’s aid, the trickledown effect on the rest of the continent and other parts of the world could cause a level of damage that will take years to repair. More important, it is simply the right thing to do and will help save millions of lives.”