This was a recap I wrote shortly after the second protest:
The first vigil was on Tuesday 6th May, a day after President Jonathon had spoken out about the situation in Nigeria; over two hundred girls had been taken from their schools, kidnapped as goods in a war against ‘sinful’ Western education. It was rumoured at the time that they’d be sold into sex trade, rumours that they were sold as wives, sold back into the tradition of women’s bodies being used for sex, child bearing, display- stripping their education from them.
At the vigil mothers and fathers spoke about the safety of all children, how there is a need for them to be safe. Julie Hesmondhalgh said, ‘Keep spreading the word…we’ve got to get this out there, there are still people who don’t know anything about it, it happened on 15th April and eight more girls have been abducted today…they have a right to an education, they have a right to freedom and a right not to be enslaved…let this just be the beginning of it’.
Saturday 10th May, we gathered again. Further information had been released that the school had been known to be under threat of attack a full four hours before it had taken place. The outrage at the lack of action was huge, every speaker began with the chant, Bring Back Our Girls. Their speeches ranged from the huge sums spent by the Nigerian government on security and the world’s view of Nigeria, but it was all tied together in the safety of these two hundred girls. The latest news is that Boko Haram, the extremist Islamic group that has kidnapped them, has offered them as ransom, the terms are they want to switch them for trained fighters who are in jail. They said the girls have converted to the Islamic faith, and that they should not be in education but be married instead.
The urgency of these protests dissipated after the third one was cancelled, I’m now reading that this was one of the most viral social media campaigns of 2014 with the most little achieved, not a single girl has to date been rescued from this situation:
‘While the government’s military and strategic response to Boko Haram has overall been “below par” on several levels, Shonibare said, it is Jonathan’s (the president’s) complete lack of empathy for the girls’ distraught families that is inexcusable.”The President of Nigeria has yet to visit the parents and the Chibok people,” Shonibare said. “Rather, some of the parents and the escaped girls were brought to Abuja to see the president. It is quite un-African for a grieving people to visit the one who is to commiserate with them.”
Yet campaigners are still in hope and applying pressure for this to be resolved, my thoughts go to the families and girls of Chibok, a list of their 180 of the girls’ names can be found here.