While the media continues to follow the confrontation between the federal government and “welfare cowboy” Cliven Bundy; the South Korean ferry tragedy; and Prince George’s first royal tour, more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls are still missing.
Last week officials believe Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group, kidnapped the girls from their school in Chibok. After being stolen from their school, the girls were dragged into the forest where nearly 30 escaped. The rest haven’t been heard from since the attack, and the media’s silence about their plight is uncomfortably loud.
Nigerian-born, American-raised poet Bassey Ikpi, who recently moved back to Nigerian, took to Facebook to air her concerns:
Over 200 little black girls were kidnapped from their school and the silence of media outrage is deafening. Twenty years later, they are still trying to find who killed Jean Benet Ramsey. They wouldn’t rest until Natalie Hollaway’s killer was put to justice. Over 200 little black girls were kidnapped from their school and are being held as sex slaves for a terrorist organization. Why are we so damn quiet?
Ikpi’s thoughts were also echoed by the Guardian’s Anne Perkins:
The fate of the Nigerian girls, who had been recalled to class in order to sit a physics exam, when all the other schools in the area were closed by security fears, has not been entirely ignored by the world’s media. But it has been overwhelmed by the story of the sinking of the Sewol.
Exacerbating the tragedy and media’s silence is the fact that Nigerian officials have also been slow to react. On the same day the girls were abducted, Boko Haram detonated a bomb in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, killing more than 70 and injuring many others. Soon after, President Goodluck Jonathan was on the scene, but the same swift response hasn’t happened for the girls.
It took eight days for the Borno state governor to visit Chibok, and yesterday, 10 days after the kidnapping, President Johnathan held a meeting with military officials to discuss how best to retrieve the girls.
The abducted girls’ family members have gotten so desperate to find their daughters that many have pooled their money together to purchase fuel for cars and motorcycles and have trekked into the forests attempting to find their missing children.
Fed up by the lack of effort in saving the girls, Twitter users from all over the globe are again using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls to pressure the Nigerian government to act.
— Chinwe Madubuike (@chinwemadubuike) April 25, 2014
— she was a showgirl (@seelolago) April 25, 2014
Not looking for these girls with everything we have as a country is a big mistake and a bad idea. #BringBackOurGirls
— #RedefineNigeria (@OpinionNigeria) April 25, 2014
In the past, there have been cases where kidnapped ladies after being brutally raped and infected are left to come back #BringBackOurGirls
— A.S. ARUWA (@MusadiqZ) April 25, 2014
— oluwa-is-involved (@olubela) April 25, 2014
These girls are Princesses, Angels, Priceless Jewels and Sweet Adorable Daughters and Nieces! #BringBackOurGirls
— HABIBA, MOJISOLA (@abdulhabiba12) April 25, 2014
— Bisi Alimi(Official) (@bisialimi) April 25, 2014
A change.org petition has been created to raise awareness about the abducted girls. Read it here.