It is now 301 days since Boko Haram abducted 276 girls from the Government Secondary School in Borno State, Nigeria. Fifty seven subsequently escaped, which means that 219 are still captive. Stories of their enslavement, forced conversion to Islam (most of the girls were Christian) and other horrors have circulated widely, but the #BringBackOurGirls campaign which briefly attracted celebrity support has largely fallen silent. Other stories have captured the imagination of internet-users.
It should be a source of deep shame to the Nigerian government that so little seems to have been done to track down the girls’ kidnappers. There are even reports that the Nigerian police have attempted to shut down protests in Abuja about the failure to act. With elections now postponed for what is widely seen to be motives of political expediency, oughtn’t there to be international pressure exerted on President Goodluck Jonathan to address this matter? The people of the north-east are, for the most part, desperately poor. The girls sent to Chibok to be educated represent the best hope of their parents to achieve a better life for their children. Let us support them with our prayers and do whatever we can to ensure that each one of those 219 missing girls is returned to freedom and safety. If no one else cares, we should.