News / Africa

Twitter Protest Takes Aim at Nigeria's World Economic Forum for Africa

Policemen take down evidence at the scene of a car bomb attack in Nyanya, Abuja, May 2, 2014.
Policemen take down evidence at the scene of a car bomb attack in Nyanya, Abuja, May 2, 2014.
Heather Murdock
Nigeria will be hosting the World Economic Forum for Africa this week, drawing more than 1,000 delegates, including many heads of state.  But with hundreds of schoolgirls still held captive by Islamist militants, some activists say security forces should not be focused on protecting the capital.  The activists are planning an online protest to out-Tweet the forum.
 
Schools and government offices in the Nigerian capital will be closed for three days this week during the World Economic Forum for Africa - commonly referred to as WEFA.
 
FILE - Nigeria's Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, August 24, 2012.FILE - Nigeria's Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, August 24, 2012.
x
FILE - Nigeria's Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, August 24, 2012.
FILE - Nigeria's Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, August 24, 2012.
Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says security will be on high alert, after nearly 100 people were killed in two bombings at a bus station in the past month just outside the city.
 
“We are going to do the maximum necessary to make sure that our guests are safe and protected," she promised.

April 15 was also the day more than 300 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Islamist militants.  Most of them remain missing.  
 
Okonjo-Iweala says, like most Nigerians, she is more concerned with the rescue of the girls than the outcome of the forum.
 
“We are all saddened as a nation that our girls are missing," she said. "For me personally as a mother of four children, including one girl, and as a Nigerian this is painful for us to bear.  And I want to tell you a far more important issue to us than anything else.”

Distraction from real problems

But some activists say the forum is a distraction from Nigeria’s real problems, especially the missing girls.  
 
Executive Director Yemi Adamolekun, of the Nigerian human rights organization Enough Is Enough, has been demanding the rescue of the girls.  She says the forum should be postponed until the girls are found.
 
“It is very important for us that we do send a strong message that WEFA cannot be more important than the lives of Nigerians.  Even if it is one girl,” she said.  

Militants known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings.  The group has been blamed for thousands of deaths in the past five years, mostly in the northeast.  And despite almost a year of emergency rule in the region, the violence appears to be spreading.  
 
Tweet strategy

To protest the World Economic Forum for Africa, Adamolekun says her group plans to out-Tweet the forum, hoping to keep hashtag  #WEFA from "trending", which means becoming one of the hottest topics on Twitter.
 
"For us we believe in the power of social media," she explained.  "A lot of people say ‘Oh you are just chatting online.’  But we do believe that its extremely powerful and we have seen it work.  It is a space that we control and we tend to do that.  For WEFA for example one of our things we plan to do is to make sure that WEFA does not trend."

Enough is Enough has been tweeting hashtag  #BringBackOurGirls to its nearly 47,000 followers.  

The hashtag (#), one of several associated with demands to rescue the girls, has reached tens of millions of people and drawn international attention to the kidnapping.  Adamolekun says she hopes hashtag #BringBackOurGirls will be re-tweeted more than hashtag #WEFA during the forum.
 
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has promised to save the girls.  He says Nigeria is seeking international assistance to address its security problems.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: X from: Lagos
May 05, 2014 3:47 PM
This is a load of BS. Do the people tweeting think they are dealing with reasonable human beings? Have they stopped to ask themselves if those decrepit old fossils even use or pay attention to Twitter. This cannot be the best we can come up with. If they are going to be dealt with they need to be hit hard. Our disgraceful president and senate are playing us for fools and we are just there passively taking everything. Boko Haram is just the tip of the iceberg- if we do not act and take back what is ours then there is more trouble to follow. If we continue to focus on our petty differences we would not move forward as a country.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs