Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) released the following statement after President Trump met with Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari at the White House on Monday:
“I reiterate my strong concern over the religious and ethnic violence in Nigeria targeting Christians, perpetrated in large part by Fulani herdsmen. I am heartened to hear that President Buhari, in his meeting with President Trump, admitted the need for his Administration to ‘stabilize’ this situation, though I am concerned by his attempt to downplay the culpability of those perpetrating the attacks.
“While the United States must acknowledge the role the Obama Administration’s disastrous foray into Libya has played in the inflow of arms to the Sahel and Nigeria, ultimate responsibility for quelling the violence and fostering inclusion among Nigerians of all religions and ethnicities falls upon President Buhari. Unless President Buhari takes stronger measures to end the violence starting now and continuing through the February 2019 Presidential election, I fear we will see intensifying chaos that leads an even greater displacement and outmigration of Nigerians. This in turn will be a field day for human traffickers.
“In 2001, I went to both Nigeria and Italy, a destination country for many who have been trafficked from Nigeria, in order to work with both governments to help put an end to the trafficking and smuggling of Nigerians; in subsequent years, I went to Italy and Nigeria as well as other countries where trafficking is prevalent. My fear is that whatever progress has been made in combatting these crimes over the past decade will be overcome by the sheer number of extremely vulnerable refugees seeking to escape violence if matters take a turn for the worse.”