FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome
(718) 951-5000 x 1742
NYC Monday 15th August 2016
Yesterday, on Day 853 after the abduction of our #ChibokGirls, a new “proof of life” video about our #Chibokgirls was in circulation, broadly disseminated and widely commented upon in the media. It is heartrending that these young women have been in captivity for so long in the hands of brutal, violent insurgents who are determined to use them as bargaining chips for their diabolical power-seeking agenda. It is unfortunate that our #Chibokgirls have been left at the mercy of their abductors for 854 days today. We are saddened and disheartened that our #Chibokgirls families and loved ones have had to cope for so long with their absence. Nonetheless, we are determined to be hopeful that our #Chibokgirls and all other abducted Nigerians, particularly the girls, boys, and women will all be rescued and reunited with their families by the Nigerian government and the international community.
To quote BringBackOurGirls in Nigeria’s translation (by Dr. Manasseh Allen, Spokesman of the Kibaku Area Development Association (KADA) in Abuja) and transcription of some of the message in the video from the Kibaku language spoken by Dorcas Yakubu:
“Our parents please exercise patience. We are suffering here. There is no kind of suffering we haven’t seen. Our sisters are injured, some have wounds on their heads and bodies. Tell the government to give them their people so we can also come to be with you. We are all children and we don’t know what to do. The suffering is too much, please endeavour as we also have exercised patience. There is nothing you, or we, can do about this but to get their people back to them, so we can go home. Exercise patience as we also have endured.”
Given that guaranteeing the safety and security of citizens is a constitutional duty of the state, the rescue of our #Chibokgirls and all other abducted Nigerians must be given more priority than observed thus far. The international community must also rise to the challenge and demonstrate its commitment to the rescue and reunification of our #Chibokgirls and all other abducted Nigerians.
The BringBackOurGirls movement has steadfastly and unflaggingly called for our #ChibokGirls rescue. The Nigerian government must redouble efforts to rescue our #Chibokgirls and all other abducted Nigerians. This is key to demonstrating Nigeria’s sovereignty: that it is not a place where a band of homicidal insurgents can swoop in, abduct citizens, and hold them in captivity at will. It is key to demonstrating that the Nigerian state is mindful of its constitutional responsibility to all Nigerian citizens. It is key to demonstrating that the Nigerian government cares about the plight of citizens subjected to cruel and unusual brutality, violence and torture. The international community also owes a duty. It must demonstrate that its lofty statements are not just platitudes. When some of us are insecure, all of us are insecure. The rescue of our #Chibokgirls and all other abducted Nigerians is a matter of urgent necessity and should be treated as such. Once the rescue is done, reunification with their families, psychosocial care, guarantees of safety and security for affected communities from further insurgent violence is required.
According to a report by The Guardian, after viewing the video, Dorcas Yakubu, Esther Yakubu’s mother said with “tears running down her face”:
“From birth, I have been planning for you – your life, your education, your health. Before you were kidnapped,” …Up till now, I have not seen or heard anything from you. But I believe that one day, I will fulfil that, my promise to you, and I will see you again, and my happiness, my joy, my life will be complete with you.”
How much pain do we expect parents to bear? How best can we demonstrate the commitment to rescue their children? We commend BringBackOurGirls in Nigeria for its proposed march to the Nigerian Presidential Villa at Aso Rock and urge all people of good conscience to join them in the call for the rescue of our #Chibokgirls and all other abducted Nigerians and their reunification with their families. We at #BringBackOurGirlsNYC support BringBackOurGirls in Nigeria and remain hopeful that very soon, our #Chibokgirls and all other abducted Nigerians, particularly the girls, boys, and women will all be rescued and reunited with their families by the Nigerian government and the international community.
Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome
Professor of Political Science, African & Women's Studies
Leonard & Claire Tow Professor, 2015/2016Brooklyn College, CUNY