Plenary speech on Boko Haram and the atrocities in Northern Nigeria

Marietje

Today, Marietje Schaake spoke in the plenary debate about the atrocities in Northern Nigeria by Boko Haram.

Marietje Schaake, on behalf of the ALDE Group. Mr President, High Representative, colleagues, the horrific violence of jihadist terrorism came awfully close to home last week, when Charlie Hebdo journalists were slaughtered and when people who were doing something as innocent as buying groceries were targeted because of their Jewish identity. Open diverse societies threaten the misguided dogma of violent Islamism. Therefore, we must be even more resilient in defending that openness. Not only do these extremists select symbols of freedom of expression – a universal human right – but in Nigeria, girls’ education or any education at all is the prime target of Boco Haram, which literally means ‘forbidden book’ or ‘Western education is forbidden’. Forcing people to adhere to one’s ideology with such extreme violence is the clearest sign of weakness imaginable. Back in 2011, when I was an observer to the presidential elections in Nigeria, volunteers of the Youth Service Corps were killed in terrorist attacks. The Youth Service Corps actively volunteered to help run the elections, and as such the attack marked an attack on all sons and daughters of Nigeria. This week, by using a child as a suicide bomber, new levels of barbarism and a lack of humanity have been shown. We condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms and send our condolences to the families of the victims. It is important in Europe that we are fully aware of the global nature of the jihadist terror, in which perpetrators and victims come from all corners of the world. It is also important to recognise that in Nigeria the impact of terrorism has become the rule rather than the exception. We must play an active role to end the brutalities and eliminate IS, Al-Qaeda, Boco Haram and their affiliated networks.