Protesters fighting for the release of 276 young girls who were abducted more than three weeks ago overtook the Nigerian Embassy today. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video on Monday confirming that his group had taken them. Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden", has attacked numerous educational institutions in northern Nigeria. The attackers took the girls from the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School and plan to sell them into slavery and marriage.
Women and men from different cultures and nations attended the rally. Many are angry that the President of Nigeria waited three weeks to speak up.
One protestor, Ramsey Abasean commented, “This is sad for me. This not the country I grew up to see. I grew up in Nigeria having hope.” When asked by WNEW 99.1 CBS radio news reporter, Kimberly Suiters about the response of the embassy officials, Abasean stated that the officials said, “The Nigerian government in conjunction with the American government will be gathering intelligence to make sure they bring those girls back.” Suiters asked Abasean if that response was satisfactory for him. “I am not satisfied. I want the President to move the entire Nigerian military” to save these girls.
Abasean’s sentiment is a small reflection of the overwhelming anger and frustration towards the Nigerian government and their slow and indecisive actions to save the 276 abducted girls.
Organizer for the rally, Molade Alawode, felt it was very important to hold this rally in front of the embassy. “We are going into week four and nothing has been done. They have not sent anyone into the forest. They have not sent any police. They have not deployed any sort of search and rescue efforts.”
Protesting, singing, poetry and speeches filled the rally. One of the singers included Ayanna Gregory, daughter of the well-known activist, Dick Gregory. In her song, she encouraged all who “believe in freedom not to rest until it comes”.
If you would like to participate write the embassy, attend a rally or sign the petition created on www.change.org
Above all pray for the return of the 276 and many more like them.
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Ms. Cooley is a media and marketing expert