May 5, 2014
Bring Back Our Girls!
Today marks exactly 3 weeks since over 230 Nigerian school girls in the North-Eastern town Chibok in Borno State were abducted in the middle of the night sleeping in their dormitories on Monday 14th April 2014. Today the leader of the Militant Islamist group, Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, confirmed that they were responsible for the abduction of these girls by releasing a video where he stated ‘I abducted your girls’. There have been various rumours that suggest these girls have been sold onto marriage or are being used for domestic chores and sexual services. This is heartbreaking!
President GoodLuck Jonathan has been criticised for his government’s slow response and failed attempts to locate these girls and bring them back to their families. It was only this weekend that he finally broke his silence and said’ We promise that anywhere the girls are, we will surely get them out…It is a trying time for this country… it is painful’. He also confirmed that he has spoken to many world leaders including President Obama, UK, France and China for assistance in his search.
This has prompted the #Bringbackourgirls and #Bringbackourdaughters campaign and peaceful protests to put pressure not just on the Nigerian government but other world leaders to do something to help find these girls and rescue them. It is about everyone taking responsibility because they are ‘our girls’ and ‘daughters’ and as a society we need to come together to find them. Just think how would you feel if these were your own daughters? Or your friend? I am sure you would not stop until they were found!
On Saturday 3rd May, there were peaceful protests help outside the Nigerian Embassy in London to demand more action from the Nigerian and British Government and to raise awareness of this situation. Protesters chanted ‘Bring back our girls’ and ‘free our sisters’ and held a two minute silence to put pressure for action to be taken promptly.
This is a devastating situation that highlights a wider issue around education for women in other parts of the world which I think sometimes here in the UK we take for granted. In Nigeria for example, Action Aid, reports that 10.5 million children are not in education with around 6 million of them being girls and only two-thirds complete primary enrolment. It is believed that the terrorist organisation Boko Haram opposes the education of women. Under its version of Sharia law, women should be at home raising children and looking after their husbands, not at school learning to read and write. (cnn.com)
What can we do to help change this situation?
- If you are on twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube get involved in promoting the hashtag #bringbackourgirls it is important that as an international community we continue to highlight this issue and put pressure on the media to continue to report on this story which should in turn put significant pressure on our government to do something about this issue.
- Write to your local MP to raise this issue with the Foreign Secretary- William Hague. Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow who was at the protest on Saturday has said that she will do this. The more who get involved the more this will be taken more seriously.
- Sign the petition for action to be taken here: http://www.change.org/petitions/over-200-girls-are-missing-in-nigeria-please-help-find-them-bringbackourgirls
ITV news presenter, Charlene White, below at the protest on Saturday 3rd May. (taken from her personal instagram account)