The Current

#BringBackOurGirls founder says humanity has failed abducted Nigerian girls

Two years ago, 276 Nigerian girls were abducted by Boko Haram from a secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria. Over 200 schoolgirls are still missing. #BringBackOurGirls founder says the international community has not followed up on their promise to help.
Protesters march to the presidential villa to deliver a protest letter to Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, in Abuja, calling for the release of the Nigerian schoolgirls in Chibok, May 22, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters)

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These children are part of this community of people around the world. We can't afford to fail them. Failing them is actually failing humanity ... The world should not just show outrage and solidarity. The world should do everything possible to ensure that these girls are out.- Dr. Hussaini Abdu, founder of the #BringBackOurGirls movement

When 276 Nigerian girls were abducted by Boko Haram from a secondary school in Chibok in northeastern Nigeria, they soon became a flashpoint for rallies and protests around the world, from Lagos, to London and L.A. 

Nigerians protest for the release of the abducted secondary school girls in the remote village of Chibok, Nigeria, May 13, 2014. (Jon Nazca/Reuters)

Even U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama joined the movement to find the missing girls, taking part in the hashtag that was shared by millions, and which turned into a rallying cry: #BringBackOurGirls. 

That was two years ago. Since 2014, 50 of the girls are said to have escaped, leaving roughly 226 of them still missing.

Dr. Hussaini Abdu is a founding member of the #BringBackOurGirls movement and Plan International's country director in Nigeria.

Abdu joined The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti to bring the world's attention back to the kidnapped girls and highlight the broken promises made by the the international community to help.


Five key facts about the Chibok schoolgirls:

1. On April 14, 2014, Boko Haram militants kidnapped 276 school girls, mostly aged between 16 and 18, from a secondary school in Chibok in Borno State, northeast Nigeria. About 50 of the girls escaped but 219 were captured.

2. Nigeria's government and military faced heavy criticism for their handling of the incident, with towns and cities across the nation witnessing protests. President Goodluck Jonathan, who declined to comment on the kidnappings for almost three weeks, was criticised, and became the first sitting Nigerian president to lose an election, in 2015.

3. The kidnappings prompted a strong social media reaction, with the phrase #bringbackourgirls tweeted around 3.3 million times by mid-May 2014. U.S. first lady Michelle Obama joined the campaign, as did Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban after campaigning for girls' education.

4. Hope for the girls was briefly raised in April, 2015, when the Nigerian military announced it had rescued 200 girls and 93 women from the Sambisa forest. It was later revealed that the Chibok girls were not among them.

5. About 2,000 girls and boys have been kidnapped by Boko Haram since the beginning of 2014, according to Amnesty International, which says they are used as cooks, sex slaves, fighters and even suicide bombers.z

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar.

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