Chibok Girls: Govt, international efforts insuficient – Malala | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Chibok Girls: Govt, international efforts insuficient – Malala

Posted: Apr 14, 2015 at 3:12 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Yinka Shokunbi,  Apata Oyeniran, Seyi Taiwo-Oguntuase and Anthonia Shoyingbe

As Nigeria and the rest of the world remembers the abduction of over 200 girls from the Government Senior Secondary School, Chibok, exactly one year ago today, the Pakistani activist for female education and youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, Yousafzai Malala has asked for more government action to secure their release.

Abducted schoolgirls, chibok

Abducted schoolgirls, chibok

Malala in an open letter titled: “To my Brave Sisters, the Kidnapped Schoolgirls of Chibok”, to mark the first anniversary of the kidnap assured the girls of her resolve to draw more international attention to their plight and ensure their release from captivity.

“On this first anniversary of your captivity, I write to you with a message of solidarity, love and hope. My name is Malala. I am a Pakistani girl your age. I am one of the millions of people around the world who keep you and your families foremost in our thoughts and prayers.

“We cannot imagine the full extent of the horrors you have endured. But please know this: we will never forget you. We will always stand with you. Today and every day, we call on the Nigerian authorities and the international community to do more to bring you home. We will not rest until you have been reunited with your families.

Addressing the girls that were forcefully taken away in the early hours of April 14, 2015 from their dormitory she continued: “Like you, I was a target of militants who did not want girls to go to school. Gunmen shot me and two of my friends on a school bus. All three of us survived and are back in school.

“Now we speak out on behalf of all girls about the right to get a proper education. Our campaign will continue until you and all girls and boys around the world are able to access a free, safe and quality secondary education,” she added.

Malala restated that the Nigerian government and the international community have not done enough, urging the girls wherever they are, not to lose hope of possible reunion with their parents and promised that her visit to Nigeria in company of her has given hope to their colleagues who were lucky to escape from the sect.

She recalled that “the escapee schoolgirls my father and I met,impressed us with their resolve to overcome their challenges and to complete their high school education. My father and I promised your parents and the girls who had escaped that we would do all we could to help them. I met Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and urged him to work harder for your freedom.

“I also asked President Jonathan to meet your parents and the girls who escaped the kidnapping, which he did a few days later. Still, in my opinion, Nigerian leaders and the international community have not done enough to help you. They must do much more to help secure your release. I am among many people pressuring them to make sure you are freed.

Giving further assurance to secure their release and continue their education, she noted the commitment of the Nigerian forces and resolve of the president elect, Muhammadu Buhari to give their freedom and protection of women and girls top priority.”

Encouraging those still in captivity not to lose hope Malala in her words said, ‘One day your tragic ordeal will end, you will be reunited with your families and friends, and you will have the chance to finish the education you courageously sought.

“I look forward to the day I can hug each one of you, pray with you, and celebrate your freedom with your families. Until then, stay strong, and never lose hope. You are my heroes,” she submitted.

As a follow up to the remembrance of the Chibok girls, a march organized by school children in Los Angeles, U.S. is billed for today, to raise awareness about the kidnapped Nigerian girls and to let the world know that they have not been forgotten. Top Celebrity supporters, Bring Back Our Girls organizers, activists such as LA Poet Laurete Amanda Gorman and Lauren Paul from Kind Campaign + leaders of Girl Rising, will be among the protesters.