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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Where Did Boko Haram Come From? Human Rights and Governance in Nigeria

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 - 2:30pm
2456 Rayburn House Office Building


We are writing to invite you to a public briefing on the human rights and governance situation in Nigeria, and its relation to the growth of the violent extremist movement known as Boko Haram.

Since launching its brutal insurgency in 2009, Boko Haram has killed thousands, displaced at least 1.5 million, and committed massive human rights abuses in Nigeria. The group made international headlines last April after kidnapping nearly 300 schoolgirls in the town of Chibok. In its latest military campaign, Boko Haram has sought to seize and hold territory in northeast Nigeria, capturing the town of Baga and reportedly slaughtering hundreds of people in early January.

The rise of Boko Haram, which poses a grave internal threat to Nigeria and is a major security challenge for the West African region, is also a manifestation of deep-seated problems in Nigeria. Poor governance, pervasive corruption, and systemic impunity have generated real grievances that have fueled the growth of the extremist group. Unless the underlying root causes are resolved, it is likely that violent extremists like Boko Haram will continue to devastate the country. Yet to date the government has responded largely through military means, reportedly committing serious human rights violations that have further exacerbated the crisis. The resulting dynamic poses an additional threat to Nigeria’s already contentious elections scheduled for mid-February. Many observers fear the eruption of electoral violence and a potential political crisis.

Please join us on Wednesday, February 4 from 2:30 to 4:00 in 2456 Rayburn House Office Building to learn more about the Nigerian crisis and hear recommendations for constructive responses.

If you have any questions, please contact Soo Choi (Rep. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Joseph R. Pitts, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC



  • Lauren Ploch Blanchard, Specialist in Africa Affairs, Congressional Research Service
    Written statement
  • Adotei Akwei, Managing Director of Government Relations, Amnesty International USA
    Written statement
  • EJ Hogendoorn, Africa Deputy Program Director, International Crisis Group
    Written statement

Opening Remarks

  • International Crisis Group Report on Curbing Violence in Nigeria (II): The Boko Haram Insurgency, 3 April 2014
  • International Crisis Group Report on Nigeria’s Dangerous 2015 Elections: Limiting the Violence, 21 November 2014
114th Congress