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Nigeria: State of Moral Urgency

Updated: Mar 29, 2021

I hadn't planned on revisiting Nigeria and the integrity issues this African country's leadership faces, that is, until I read a recent article at, UK Parliament Condemns #PlateauKilliings, Urges Bhari to Take Action. As Nigeria faces a serious security crisis, a growing number of human rights watchers are beginning to use the terms Sudan and Rwanda as alarm bells for Africa and the global community.

The article cited above is timely and refreshing because it signals to the world that the escalating atrocities in Nigeria are garnering the attention from government leaders outside Africa. So moved by the killing spree in Nigeria, The House of Lords in the United Kingdom responded publicly with the following from Lord Alton of Liverpool:

“....the more than 200 people, mostly women and children, who were killed in sustained attacks on 50 villages by armed Fulani militia just this past weekend” adding that “People are dying daily.

“This alone should serve as a wake-up call. Are we to watch one of Africa’s greatest countries go the way of Sudan? Will we be indifferent as radical forces sweep across the Sahel seeking to replace diversity and difference with a monochrome ideology that will be imposed with violence on those who refuse to comply? We must not wait for a genocide to happen, as it did in Rwanda. Ominously, history could easily be repeated,”

The Council on Foreign Relations identifies nine conflict regions in Africa. In Nigeria alone,the crimes have been horrific and the death toll staggering. In light of this dire reality, a serious sense of moral urgency and purpose must inspire Nigerian leaders to reign in the chaos and restore stability to its citizens. The time has come for world leaders and peacekeeping agencies to call on government leaders in Africa (Nigeria in particular) to set aside their differences and 1) enter into regional collaborative agreements that focus on reducing and eliminating ethnic hostilities, 2) commit to monitored, effective, and outcome-oriented economic development initiatives, approved corruption counter measures, and other robust interventions, both short and long-term, that equip, empower, and safeguard human flourishing and stability in Nigeria, 3) petition the International Crime Court (ICC) to authorize the capture and prosecution of past and present domestic terrorists for genocide and other crimes against humanity, and 4) retrain the Nigerian Security Force with proven tactics to better engage and overcome domestic terrorists more effectively.

As I close, I turn to Chaos or Community once again, for King's prescient piece proves timeless in its ability to speak to today's collapse of community, leadership integrity, and overall responsiveness to moral crisis.

"We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time... Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." (pg. 191)

King's final words are both poetic and chilling. Nigeria today is experiencing a chilling reality that captures the fullness of King's statement. With relentless bloodshed, especially targeting women and children, King's "fierce urgency of now" escalates to moral urgency for the government of Nigeria and leaders in Africa and around the world. Nigeria and the world community are in the hour of moral expectation, meaning, as human evil continues its march toward genocide, government resources must respond to protect human life without delay nor compromise. "Too late"is not an option.

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