A bill drafted by Sen. Susan Collins to counter the terrorist threat of Boko Haram in Nigeria and other African nations won unanimous support Wednesday in the House and awaits the president’s signature.

Collins, R-Maine, submitted the bipartisan legislation after members of Boko Haram stormed a Nigerian secondary school in 2014 and kidnapped 276 girls at gunpoint. The Senate passed the bill in September 2015.

The legislation calls for a new five-year U.S. government strategy to counter the threat of Boko Haram and assist the government of Nigeria in addressing the grievances of vulnerable populations affected by this terrorist group.

“By definition, Boko Haram means Western education is forbidden,” Collins said in a news release. “I urge the president to immediately sign this bill into law and send an international signal that we will never forget the girls of Nigeria who were targeted simply because they chose to pursue an education.”

Collins said Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, and continues to commit terrible acts of brutal violence against civilians in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

In 2014, Collins and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, led all 20 women senators in urging Secretary of State John Kerry to seek Boko Haram’s addition to the United Nation’s al-Qaeda Sanctions List. Following that letter, the United Nations Security Council voted to subject Boko Haram to a complete asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.

“This bipartisan legislation signals a renewed congressional commitment to pursuing Boko Haram and bolstering U.S. efforts throughout the region,” Collins said Wednesday. “The already dire situation there will continue to worsen if the current trajectory is not significantly altered.”

 


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