On April 14, the Boko Haram Group kidnapped over 200 Nigerian teenage girls (some sources now believe the number is actually close to 300) from their school in Borno State. Since then, the girls have not being found and the Nigerian government has shown insensitivity in the matter. It is estimated that a little over 50 girls managed to run away, but as a Chibok official pointed out:
“Nobody rescued them … I want you to stress this point. Nobody rescued them. They escaped on their accord. This is painful.”
The government has not shown the maturity, effective management and sensitivity required of it in the midst of this crisis that threatens to overrun the nation. It hasn’t shown that it values the life of its citizens. For example, the government retracted a statement about the girls release one day after their abduction. On April 15 (24 hours after the Nyanya bomb blast in the state capital – Abuja that killed 70 people) and on the day the girls were kidnapped, the Nigerian president was rallying in Kano State. On April 29th, the Nigerian president cancelled his weekly Cabinet meeting that was scheduled for this day to honour the Vice-President’s brother who recently passed away. This is a case of placing little or no value on the lives of ordinary citizens in comparison to perceived VIP’s?
News reports about the search have been sparse (until now) and it is quite clear that the international community needs to raise its voice on the matter. Nigerian women have already started protesting to demand the release of their daughters and I believe Canadians should lend their voice to this. This has moved beyond being a Nigerian problem, it is the world’s problem. There needs to be more awareness about the issue so that Canadian citizens can urge the Canadian government to help in whatever way possible. Given the urgency of the matter, I hope you will consider lending your voice to the issue by breaking the silence about it in your network, tweeting at Nigerian government officials, contacting the Canadian ambassador in Nigeria and signing the petition asking the World Economic Forum to postpone its upcoming meeting that Nigeria is scheduled to host next week.
Our government’s priority needs to be on these innocent girls that only dared to be educated. As is, Nigeria has the highest out of school population in the whole world and of course girls constitute the majority of that number. All children deserve access to education. The most upsetting aspect of this story is that some of the girls have been sold into sexual slavery in the name of marriages for as little as $12. (Source: http://time.com/84414/how-we-failed-the-lost-girls-kidnapped-by-boko-haram/)
Here are some petitions you can sign:
Avaaz – http://bit.ly/1lJadvQ
Stay in the loop:
Twitter – #BringBackOurGirls, #Nigeria
Vigils will be taking place at Dundas Square throughout the weekend in Toronto. We must not allow this issue to be politicized and swept under the rug. Your voice matters on this!
Chizoba is the founder of Unveiling Africa Foundation and a M.Ed Student, Educational Administration and Comparative International Development Education OISE, at the University of Toronto. http://www.chizobaimoka.com/