Written in conjunction with Anupama Dathan.
On April 14, nearly 234 school girls, aged 12 to 17, were kidnapped from their school in northeastern Nigeria by militant group Boko Haram. It’s unclear where the girls now are: some reports say they were taken to Chad and Cameroon and sold as brides, but there’s little evidence.
The lack of information makes this terrible situation even worse. The parents of the kidnapped girls and Nigerian citizens have been demanding their government bring back their girls, protesting in the streets and partaking in mass rallies.
“May God curse every one of those who has failed to free our girls,” said Enoch Mark to the Guardian. His daughter and two nieces were among the kidnapped.
The Nigerian government remains committed to finding the girls, but could have done a better job explaining the situation to the public, said ONE Board member and Nigerian Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest.
“Have we communicated what is being done properly? The answer is no, that people did not have enough information,” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told CNN’s Richard Quest.
“We are all saddened as a nation that our girls are missing,” she said. “For me personally as a mother of four children, including one girl, and as a Nigerian this is painful for us to bear.”
People around the world have mobilized to demand the rescue of the schoolgirls. Protests from Los Angeles to London to Lagos have been organized, and a social media campaign, #BringBackOurGirls, was created to raise awareness.
Here are three things you can do right now about this injustice:
1. Use the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag to create buzz on social media
This CBC News article has an up-to-date roundup of who’s been using the hashtag and how the social media campaign has been going on Twitter.
2. Read the Guardian’s extensive coverage of the kidnapping
Photo credit: CBS News
Some media outlets have been very slow to react to this dreadful event, but global media has paid attention. Learn more about the militant group Boko Haram, how Nigerian citizens are reacting, and new reports on the situation.
The petition reads: “By signing this petition we declare our solidarity with the kidnapped girls and call upon the world not to forget them, support all efforts to ensure their safe return, and ask President Goodluck Jonathan and the Nigerian Government to ensure all schools are safe places to learn, protected from attack.”