News / Africa

Nigerian President Makes Promise to Malala to Rescue Kidnapped Girls

Malala Urges Nigerian President to Meet With Kidnapped Girls' Parentsi
July 15, 2014 2:08 AM
On a visit to Abuja, Nigeria, the Pakistani schoolgirl and education campaigner Malala Yousafzai has called on Nigeria's president to meet with the parents of the school girls abducted by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram. More than 200 girls are being held in the northeastern part of the country, where Boko Haram is waging an insurgency against government forces. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London
Related video report by Henry Ridgwell, "Malala Urges Nigerian President to Meet With Kidnapped Girls' Parents"
Heather Murdock

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has promised Malala Yousafzai -- a Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban on her way to school -- that his government will rescue the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram.  The promise came at a special meeting in Abuja Monday, exactly three months after the girls were taken.  Boko Haram has also released a new video mocking activists calling for the return of the girls.

Three months ago in the Nigerian town of Chibok, nearly 300 schoolgirls climbed into trucks manned by men in fatigues.  When the men started burning down the schoolhouse, the girls knew they were not, as they had said, soldiers rescuing them from a coming attack.
More than 50 girls escaped that night but more than 200 remain missing.
"What are we demanding?  #Bring back our girls now and alive!  What are we demanding?  Bring back our girls now and alive!" protesters shouted during a rally.
In Abuja, activists in the #BringBackOurGirls campaign still rally each day to demand their rescue.
Boko Haram, the insurgent group that has killed thousands of people this year alone, claims to be holding the girls and has threatened to sell them as "slaves."
After her meeting with President Jonathan Monday, Malala said the president promised the girls will be rescued.
"The president fortunately promised that he will do something for these girls," Malala said. "And he promised me that the girls will be returned as soon as possible."
Visiting Nigeria on her 17th birthday, Malala is an activist for girls' education.  Two years ago, the Taliban shot her in the head for her work in Pakistan, drawing international outrage and making her famous worldwide.
Malala says she spoke to some of the schoolgirls that escaped, adding that although they are free, they are still suffering.
"I spoke to him about those girls whom I met yesterday, and who were telling me they cannot go to school," Malala said.  "They have dreams. They want to become doctors, engineers and teachers but the government is not providing them any facility.  They also need health facilities.  They also need security but the government is not doing anything."
Sitting next to Malala, presidential spokesperson Reuben Abati defended the government's record on education.
"This administration has spent more on education than any other administration before now," Abati said. "Education is one of President Jonathan's main priority areas."
But Malala says more than 10 million children have no access to education in Nigeria, and calls on the international community as well as the Nigerian government to address the problem.
However much of northeastern Nigeria has been under emergency rule for more than a year and authorities say they simply don't have the manpower to secure all the schools.  Hundreds of children have already been killed in their dormitories.
In a newly-released video, Abubakar Shekau, the man who claims to lead Boko Haram, grins as he mocks the #BringBackOurGirls activists.
"Bring back our girls?  Aww-oo.  Bring back our army.  Bring back our army," he taunted.
He's referring to his repeated demand for the release of Boko Haram prisoners.
In the video, Shekau also claims responsibility for last month's bombings in Lagos and the Nigerian capital of Abuja, and he threatens Muslim clerics that preach against extremism.

You May Like

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

Report: US to Sail Warships Near Disputed S. China Sea Islands

Move will signal nonrecognition of Chinese territorial claims over area, Financial Times reports, citing senior US official More

Study Describes Ancient Deltas, Lakes on Mars

Research builds on recent NASA announcement that water flows on red planet today More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 17, 2014 8:17 AM
That's not entirely true. Goodluck said he will release the girls he kept, the ones that Boko selected for him.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 14, 2014 1:05 PM
A coward in an equally cowardly organization. If Shekau was a man and really has a troop and not a gang of robbers robbing girls, kidnapping school children, breaking into banks and private homes to steal money, why do his fighters hide themselves. That is to show that he has no army - as he calls them - they are only hired thugs and will disperse as soon they meet a strong opposition - like in Cameroon. It is the press' way of glorifying banditry; instead of showing that boko haram is a set of hungry hoodlums and gangsters who use every available means to rob innocent citizens, they elevate if higher status than it can ever achieve, even though its all evil.

The promise to release the girls, you wish that the president said what he is capable of doing.

There is no country in the world where terrorism is permitted, yet boko haram, without a territory of its own, has access to military transport vehicles (armored personnel carrier) and could pose for photograph - are we sure these people are not hibernating in our military barracks, and perhaps enjoying our taxpayers' money too? As yet the foreign military assistance seems to have yielded no result, is it true that they mellow down after realizing that the issue of the kidnapped schoolgirls is more political than realistic? What is going on and what is the Nigerian government not telling us? Do we still have investigative journalism anywhere? Can the Nigerian case be independently investigated and results made available so we, the expectant public, can stop speculating? Before we as Malala to join the #BringbackOurGirls# protest.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanoni
John Owens
October 08, 2015 7:32 PM
Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs