Wilson said Congress needs to encourage a regional and multilateral strategy involving the African Union, the United Nations, and members of the international community who have reached out to help Nigeria including Israel and Saudi Arabia, which last week sent Nigeria $100 million.
She said Saudi Arabia is likely “trying to show that this is not a Muslim-orchestrated fight” as the Muslim community “has been trying to disown Boko Haram.”
“They have bombed so many mosques,” Wilson noted, adding that the day the delegation was leaving three Muslims were killed in a Boko Haram attack.
She characterized the terror group as “some hooligan people who are bent on destruction living off terror and crime, a group of men and boys who have no future and no hope.” She added that recruits come from “poverty that you just couldn’t even imagine” and here comes a group “offering food, shelter, clothing if you come fight with us.”
“This is all these kids have to look forward to — they have no shoes, no education, no work.”
The name Boko Haram means that Western education is sinful. “Anytime the world ‘western’ is used that’s a threat toward the United States,” Wilson said.
“It has mushroomed and it’s like a wildfire, and we’ve got to rein it in,” she stressed. “Boko Haram can become another al-Qaeda at this point.” Shekau voiced support for his al-Qaeda “brethren” in Sunday’s video.
Thus, Wilson suggests that the administration view the threat much like the terrorist gains in Iraq, stepping up drone, manned and satellite surveillance and working with neighboring countries Chad and Cameroon, which have felt the effects of Boko Haram spillover.
Nigerian government officials also need to step up to the plate, said the congresswoman, and the UN should heap pressure on Jonathan.
Wilson came away from her conversation with the governor of Borno state, site of the Chibok kidnapping, feeling that “he is corrupt, too,” as he spent the “whole conversation criticizing the government without even realizing he is the government.”
“To me, there was no urgency,” she added.
Nigerians also told the lawmakers that they would like to see a victims fund established to help the survivors of Boko Haram, who may be ostracized by their villages, infected with HIV, pregnant, or suffering from psychological trauma.
Wilson continues to support the Nigerians each day on the floor of the House, enlisting colleagues in the Twitter campaign and posting pictures of young African women to drive home that there is a story behind every statistic in Boko Haram’s grim toll.
“Every day I go to the floor and speak about our Twitter war,” she said, adding that the glue that holds the campaign together is the belief that “all girls across the world are entitled to an education if they choose to pursue one.”
How can Americans help? Start by reviving the hashtag, Wilson urged.
“They should join in our Twitter war and they should tweet,” she said. “Say something. Send a message to the girls. Send a message to the parents. Send a strong message to the Nigerian government. Send a stronger message to Boko Haram.”