As we work with women leaders around the world toward gender equity, and the social and economic progress that equity allows, we are painfully aware that there continues to be strong opposition to this work, and those that lead and support it. It is at times like these that women leaders on the front lines of progress need us the most, and why the solidarity and collective power of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network is so important.
The Vital Voices Network stands with the people of Nigeria in calling for the return of the 276 girls who were kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Bornu State, Nigeria. We support women leaders who are working to transform their nation into one where women and girls are not only secure, but free. We support the call for Nigeria’s policy-makers to make the girls’ return–and the nation’s overall security–the top priority. And we will stand with you now and beyond.
Be informed by the perspectives of Vital Voices Network leaders from Nigeria and other countries in Africa.
Statement By Amy Oyekunle
Executive Director, Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), Nigeria
Written May 1st 2014
Dear Vital Voices,
Two Weeks ago, about 200 girls were forcefully removed from their school in Chibok, Bornu State, Nigeria. Bornu state is in the North Eastern part of Nigeria and is one of those States currently terrorized by the dreaded Boko Haram sect. This will not be the first time girls have been abducted – in fact, the practice has been on for well over three years. But this will be the first time for such a number. In the last few weeks, we have heard that the girls were trafficked to neighboring states (Chad or Cameroon) and have been married off to members of the BH for just Naira 2000 (approximately USD$13.00).
Our government is yet to make a statement (aside from the usual watered down remarks about doing everything they can) but still the World Economic Forum Africa and other events take pre-eminence over the finding and safe return of our girls.
Nigerians are miffed and angry (we seem to be always angry these days) and several actions have been initiated. There are protests/rallies/marches on the streets of Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Ibadan (to mention a few). There are online campaigns on Twitter, Facebook, change.org.
I am asking YOU – fellow leaders – to lend your voice to our fight to ensure Nigerian women and girls are safe. Please sign and share the online petition on change.org. Tweet and RT about this dastardly act and demand that the governments involved do something and other governments put pressure on us to do something.
I am asking that you remember the girls, their parents, families and us in your thoughts and prayers.
I am asking that you share strategies or best practices that you think might work at a time like this.
Thanks and God Bless,
Statement by the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria
Written April 23, 2014
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria wishes to express with grave sorrow her utter horror at the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents, particularly the latest strategy of killing children and abducting young girls from school.
Starting from the reported incident where 22 students were killed in a village in Mamudo, to the dastardly attack on Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State where 29 male students were burnt alive, throats slit and or gunned down in cold blood to the recent abduction of over 200 female students from the Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) Chibok, Borno State on the 16th of April, 2014.
FIDA Nigeria condemns these dastardly activities of the Boko Haram insurgents in the strongest terms for being barbaric, inhuman, degrading and violates all known norms of warfare whether local, regional or international. A situation where innocent young girls are abducted, used as sex slaves and subsequently returned to their families pregnant and or clutching babies is certainly deplorable, condemnable and the most traumatic experience that can be wished for any person.
We therefore call on the Boko Haram insurgents to cease forthwith these human carnage and abduction of girls as well as their terrorist activities. We plead with the insurgents, in the name of God which they profess to be upholding, to immediately release all abducted young girls, women and children forcefully taken into their custody.
While we appreciate the efforts of the Federal Government to contain the activities of this dreadful insurgents and the sacrifice being made by the Military and other security agencies in this regard, we are constrained to demand for more effective, actionable and concrete strategies to combat this insurgency.
We are indeed heart broken by the turn of events and can no longer be mere spectators. We hereby declare our preparedness to support all legitimate efforts and do everything within our power to ensure the protection of women and children everywhere in our country.
God bless the women and children of Nigeria!!
God bless and keep Nigeria!!!
Dated this 23rd day of April 2014.
Ms. Hauwa Evelyn Shekarau Mrs. Chigoziri Ojiaka
National President National Secretary
Statement by Ayomide Olajide
Program Manager, Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ)
WIMBIZ condemns this outrageous act of systematic abduction of our girls. We believe that every girl has a right to be safe, educated and live a dignified life.
We call on the Nigerian government to dedicate all its efforts to rescuing our girls. We also call on every Nigerian and the international community to continue to mount pressure on the government until our girls are found.
At WIMBIZ, we are standing and speaking up for our girls and we will not rest on our oars until our girls return home safely. We appeal to everyone to continue with one voice on the #BringBackOurGirls campaign and sign a petition at http://chn.ge/1l0OLl2
To get up to date information on the situation click on #BringBackOurGirls #234Borno #RealMenDontBuyGirls on social media
Program Manager (WIMBIZ)
Other responses from the VV Network
May 2, 2014
“Our hearts bleed each time we imagine what these girls are going through. This is a setback for girl child education and the worst form of violence against women and girls. There have been some protests marches by different groups in different parts of the country. FIDA Nigeria participated at that of Abuja, red T-shirts were printed for that purpose and about 100 members were in attendance.….The protests continues and need to be sustained…”
Mrs. Chigoziri Ojiaka
National Secretary of FIDA Nigeria
Executive Director of Gender and Child Rights Initiative
May 6th 2014
It is very sad to hear what is happening. I have been following up the news of these kidnapped girls because the Northern part of Cameroon is also being harassed by this dreaded sect. They have kidnapped and are threatening some Cameroonians also.….We are all praying for their safe release … We shall keep on praying for them and their families.
Nkumu Fed Fed
May 6th 2014
“….So these rebels may actually sell our girls if we stand back and do nothing! We all must rise up and in every way possible, lend our efforts to bring these daughters back. Tweet, blog, appear on radio shows, educate our communities, do whatever we can, so that this type of event never recurs!”