Organizations representing Nigerian Christians called on the United States to officially recognize Boko Haram as a terrorist group at a press conference on Thursday in the nation's capital, the Christian Post reports. Leaders from the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) made their case, sharing that they have tried to get the Islamic jihadist militant organization in Africa to be labeled a terrorist group by meeting with members of Congress, drawing up petitions and working with other organizations, including several American groups. Pastor Laolu Akande, executive director of CANAN, said it was a question of universal human rights. For years, the extremist Islamic group Boko Haram has been targeting Christian communities, schools and churches in the predominantly Muslim northern region of Nigeria. While the Nigerian government has declared martial law in those areas and groups like Boko Haram have been put on the defensive, attacks against Christians continue. "Every week I get a text message -- a church burnt or a pastor was murdered or Christians were randomly rounded up on a roadside and summarily executed," said Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, president of CAN. "In my first term, about 3,000 Christians were killed. Last year alone averaged over 100 every month." According to Ogebe, there were two petitions sent to the White House on the issue: one a formal petition and the other an online petition. "As we approach the 10th anniversary of Boko Haram's launch of violent attacks on Christmas eve 2003, we urge you to use your good office to designate this lethal mass murdering organization as a foreign terrorist organization," reads the formal petition in part.