#BringBackOurGirls: Global Youth Ambassadors call for action on missing Nigerians
Nigerian youth advocates have called on the country’s president and the international community to do more to find 276 schoolgirls still missing after being abducted by gunmen.
The A World at School Global Youth Ambassadors from the African nation have signed a declaration using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls to President Goodluck Jonathan and world leaders – and you can add your voice here.
The missing girls were taken by gunmen from Boko Haram – whose name means “Western education is forbidden” – who attacked the Government Girls Secondary School in the Chibok area of Borno state on April 14. There are reports they have been taken to neighbouring Cameroon and Chad and sold as brides for about $12 each.
Police last night revised the number of missing girls up to 276 – 30 more than previously thought – saying they now believed more than 300 were abducted. The others managed to escape from the gunmen. Confusion over the numbers arose, tragically, as girls from several areas had travelled to Chibok to take their final exams, as other schools in Borno state had been closed for months due to the security sitution.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the Nigerian captial Abuja and other cities this week to complain that the government is not doing enough to secure the release of the schoolgirls.
The demonstrators, mainly women dressed in red, said the abductions would put off other parents from sending their children to schools in an area where many girls do not get an education.
The A World at School Global Youth Ambassadors who have joined the #BringBackOurGirls call are Kenechukwu Oraelo, Ojonwa Deborah, Damola Morenikeji, Philip Obaji Jr., Akor Jackson, Ayodeji Morakinyo, Purpose Osa Iserhienrhien, Raymon Olamilekan and Adebukola Orenuga.
The picture with this article was taken at the protest by youth ambassador Purpose.
One distraught father who was there compared the situation to the international search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
Yakubu Maina said: “Imagine 25 countries joining hands in a search for a missing aircraft in Malaysia whose passengers are presumed dead. Here we are talking of scores of living girls abducted by people known to have no mercy but the government doesn’t seem to care much.”
United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown has called for international military assistance to secure the release of the girls, who are aged 16 to 18.
He said: “The international community must do something to protect these girls. We could provide military help to the Nigerians to track down the whereabouts of the girls before they’re dispersed throughout Africa – like air support, for example, if that was thought necessary.”
He will meet President Jonathan in Abuja next week to discuss the kidnappings.
Borno state Education Commissioner Musa inuwa Kubo said yesterday: “This is a delicate situation that requires careful handling
“When you have heavily armed men holding close to 200 girls hostage, you have to be very careful in your approach so as not to risk the safety of these girls you want to rescue.”