Voice of America (Washington, DC)

10 June 2014

Nigeria: U.S House Sub-Committee to Hold Hearing On Boko Haram Wednesday

The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations will hold a hearing Wednesday to update members about the Boko Haram insurgency as well as conditions in parts of northern Nigeria, according to Congresswoman Karen Bass.

"My expectations are really to get an update primarily from former Ambassador Sanders who was recently in Nigeria. The other witnesses will be giving us their perspective and especially their perspective on Boko Haram,' she said.

"There will be no representation from the State Department or from any other part of the administration," said Bass. "And so we will not be getting up-to-date information from the administration's point of view, and I think that is unfortunate, but that's who is on the witness list so far."

Her comments follow recent reports of violence perpetrated by the Islamist insurgent group. The United States and other Western countries have volunteered security assistance to help Nigeria combat the Islamist militants following the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok over five weeks ago.

Bass says the United State has been involved in helping the West African country find solutions to the violence.

"The U.S. has been involved in helping Nigeria, but it's a little bit of a sensitive subject in the sense that to the extent that Nigeria wants us to be involved, we are involved, but we can't get involved any more than the country wants us to," she said.

Bass recently accompanied Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and representatives of U.S. business organizations on a trade mission to the country's commercial capital, Lagos.

She expressed concern about Nigeria's security.

"That is a sad situation because on the one hand we should be celebrating Nigeria's success and Nigeria's advancement to be the largest strongest economy on the continent, and at the same time we are dealing with the tragedy from groups like Boko Haram, and we are also dealing with very poor conditions in the north," she said.

Some analysts say the country's insecurity could undermine foreign investments that could help create jobs for the country's youth.

Bass says while the latest violence is very troubling she does not believe at this point in time that there are any major threats to the overall economy.

But, she said anytime you have horrific acts, like those being committed by Boko Haram, the country must pay attention to the warning signs and very aggressively respond.

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