Legislators discuss Boko Haram, upcoming election with Nigerian president

Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday to discuss recent abductions and attacks perpetrated by the terrorist group Boko Haram.

Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) joined Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in discussing international collaboration to combat Boko Haram’s efforts to destabilize the region and spread radical Islamic beliefs.

“Nigeria is a vital partner for the United States, and the ties between our people are close,” the lawmakers said. “We called on President Jonathan (on Monday) to demonstrate leadership on those issues most central to his nation’s future stability and at the heart of our bilateral relationship: Ensuring his people are protected from Boko Haram’s brutality, supporting development in the most vulnerable communities in the north, advancing economic opportunity across Nigeria and proceeding toward credible, peaceful elections.”

The lawmakers signaled a willingness to support enhanced U.S.-Nigeria security cooperation. The support could help Nigeria counter Boko Haram, address longstanding grievances and development challenges in northern communities, and improve the military’s human rights and accountability record.

The lawmakers also highlighted the importance of peaceful elections next year in Nigeria and pledged to support that effort. Additionally, Nigeria’s role as the largest economy on the continent and the need for a close, bilateral commercial relationship was discussed.