News / Africa

    Activists Demand Nigeria Rescue Abducted Schoolgirls

    Four girls returned to the families after gumen kidnapped more than 200 girls from a northern Nigeria school, Chibok, April, 21 2014.
    Four girls returned to the families after gumen kidnapped more than 200 girls from a northern Nigeria school, Chibok, April, 21 2014.
    Heather Murdock
    Nearly 200 teenage girls in Nigeria have been missing for two weeks after being taken captive by suspected Islamist militants.

    As activists plan a million-women march on Abuja this Wednesday to demand their rescue, some analysts say the dire security situation in Nigeria’s northeast could destroy Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's chances for re-election next year.

    For some women in the country's restive north, the government’s failure to rescue the teenage students is an affront to all women.
     
    “We have a national leader who is supposed to champion the protection of the entire country," said Aishatu Ngulde, a member of Baobab for Women’s Human Rights in Maiduguri, the original home of the Boko Haram insurgency. "But since this thing happened, we have never had our president tell the entire nation that he is deploying our air force with their jets.”
     
    The frustration is mounting, with many people saying they cannot understand why the school was not better guarded in the first place.
     
     
    Ayo Omolale, 30, is a political science student at the University of Abuja. He says two weeks after the girls were kidnapped the public is increasingly frustrated by the government's failure to save them, Abuja Nigeria, April 28, 2014. (Photo: Heather MAyo Omolale, 30, is a political science student at the University of Abuja. He says two weeks after the girls were kidnapped the public is increasingly frustrated by the government's failure to save them, Abuja Nigeria, April 28, 2014. (Photo: Heather M
    x
    Ayo Omolale, 30, is a political science student at the University of Abuja. He says two weeks after the girls were kidnapped the public is increasingly frustrated by the government's failure to save them, Abuja Nigeria, April 28, 2014. (Photo: Heather M
    Ayo Omolale, 30, is a political science student at the University of Abuja. He says two weeks after the girls were kidnapped the public is increasingly frustrated by the government's failure to save them, Abuja Nigeria, April 28, 2014. (Photo: Heather M
    “[People are] panicking because they do not know what is happening to them right now. Of course they might be raped," said Ayo Omolale, 30, a political science student at the University of Abuja, explaining that saving the girls is more complex than just political will.

    "Militants may be holding the girls as sex slaves, cooks or porters, but they ultimately also serve as a ‘human shield’ for militants," he said, adding that he thinks this possibility may prevent the military from attacking the culprits with "full force."

    According to some analysts, fallout from the growing security crisis, including the kidnapping, may spill into next year, harming the ruling party’s ability to win the presidential elections.
     
    No candidates have formally declared, but President Goodluck Jonathan is widely expected to run.
     
    Clement Nwankwo, who heads the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre in Abuja, said ultimately the central government controls security forces, and will take the blame if they are not found.

    “The immediate responsibility on dealing with the security issues lies with the president and his security chiefs," he noted. "And he needs to inform the governors, which is also what he needs to do with Nigerians, inform Nigerians what steps he is taking to address the security issues.”
     
    But some young people say it is not the ruling party nor the opposition party they blame, but all of their leaders.
     
    Tobi Obanisola, a 20-year-old philosophy student, believes Nigeria’s elite must be connected to the Boko Haram insurgency because the militants have expensive equipment, like heavy artillery and trucks. He said many current opposition leaders seem as corrupt as the party in power, and if it were up to him in 2015 he would vote for “none of the above.”

    “The law permits me to endorse corruption in Nigeria if I vote. That means whether I like it or not I have to vote a political party," Obanisola said.

    Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sinful," has been blamed for thousands of deaths in the past five years, including hundreds of children in their schoolhouses.

    The group has mostly attacked churches, mosques, schools, and other public targets in the northeast, but occasionally extends their reach. On the day the girls were kidnapped, a bomb blast in the capital killed 75 people at a bus station.

    Abdulkareem Haruna contributed to this report from Maiduguri.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: roseline
    April 29, 2014 7:40 PM
    what is our dear president doing? Is boko haram stronger than nigeria security force. if so we should invite foreign security such as america and others
    Or divide. this country in 3 boro haram and islam Go there way yorobas there way and igbos there way.
    what is hard in this stuff. Oh president is hoping in nigeria army which majority are almost moslam who are supporting bokoharm there brothers . OK

    by: sunny adewuyi from: new york
    April 29, 2014 11:05 AM
    The evil of Islam and Christianity is growing in leaps and bounds in Nigeria and Central African Republic were brothers are killing brothers in the name of their slave master's religions.Imagine what an ignorant boro haram is doing to his people in the name Allah.Isn't it time for the Africans to realized its time to do away with these fraud called Islam and Christianity through which over 300 000 000 black men, women and children have been murdered.

    The Northern oligarchy is using this fool to further propagate their slave master's faith and it does not take the Nigerian Government more than 100 daring men to rid this evil of Islam off our land and free these innocent children.
    In Response

    by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
    April 29, 2014 11:58 PM
    Dear Sunny, you are absolutely right that we Africans have to shake these bogus religions off our mind and body. Our European and Arab salve masters cruelly imposed on us their respective phony (Christianity and Islamic) faiths to make sure that we permanently entrapped into never-ending religious conflict.
    Nigerian government MUST destroy this evil BH organization without mercy and rescue the 200 innocent children safe and sound otherwise the government must be held accountable.

    by: Ibiye Omieibi-Davids from: Port Harcourt, Nigeria
    April 29, 2014 3:55 AM
    It is a big big shame the way the government seem to be moving on as if the abduction of the girls is inconsequential. The president should be more concerned with ensuring the return or rescue of these girls. This should be our utmost priority.

    by: Truesage Idowu from: Nigeria
    April 29, 2014 3:07 AM
    As one of the well meaning Nigerians, I am using this opportunity to ask for the assistance of the United States of America, France, Germany, Israel , United Kingdom and other allies to assist Nigeria in taming the scourge of boko aram.
    The proliferation of ammunition due to the uprising in Libya, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, Chad and other African countries has fed the armory of these terrorist with great consequence on the lives of Nigerians. Also, it has being investigated that the liberal citizens are the ones being annihilated by these terrorists. Christians and liberal muslims are being massacred to pave way for the agenda of terrorists over that axis of Nigeria. "The body language of some northern politicians is in support of these terrorists instead of an outright criticism of their actions".
    The foreign allies of Nigeria should assist Nigeria with the mop up and destruction of light weapons and weapons of mass destruction. We require the deployment of drones in this axis to curtail the excesses of these terrorists.
    The allies of Nigeria should also pressurize China and Russian to stop the proliferation of these weapons to Africa.
    In Response

    by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
    May 02, 2014 8:42 AM
    Before it's too late, urgently Nigeria needs to annihilate completely Boko Haram .....not taming.

    by: kezora from: asia
    April 28, 2014 9:14 PM
    Now the real test has come that is boko haram ,this not about taking chieftaincy title ,embezzeling public fund,inccessant bribery and corruption ,infected and selfcentered unprogressive leaders ,who will care to comment on this page knowing that the government have no clue,these girls fate is in the hand of God
    In Response

    by: Allison Vigna from: United States
    May 01, 2014 10:52 PM
    Please Mr President ,
    These young girls need help to be found.
    They are somebody 's daughters and sisters.
    I have granddaughter s I could not even think about the US abandoning me in this time of horror. In the name of Jesus please find these young girls please help and do whatever that is in your power to reunite these girls with their families.Amen

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.