WASHINGTON, D.C. – Supporters rallied at the Embassy of Nigeria on May 6, 2014 at 10 am to pressure idle government officials to take measurable actions to save the newly estimated 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in the northeastern Nigerian village of Chibok. Insufficient response from the Nigerian Government in the two weeks following the abduction prompted organizers to plan a public demonstration demanding that the Nigerian military and police uphold their duty to deploy search and rescue efforts. This act of solidarity in the nation’s capital followed the bold example set by hundreds of mothers who marched for their missing daughters in the capital city of Abuja, Nigeria on April 30.
Following the march in Abuja, BBC News Africa reported that more than 20 senators requested a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan. No details of their discussions are known yet, but this action suggests forward progress made by government officials. Ralliers in Washington, D.C. hoped to incite similar political action from His Excellency Adebowale Adefuye, the ambassador from Nigeria to the United States, and his colleagues at the consulate.
All reports stated that over 200 teenage girls were taking a final exam at their school on April 14, when they were abducted by armed members of the terrorist group Boko Haram. According to the Guardian, the kidnapped girls are being taken as brides by the militants. Rally organizer Lola Adele-Oso remarks, “Anyone can relate to this story because those girls could be your sisters, daughters, or cousins; and you wouldn’t just sit on your hands while they’re being brutalized simply for going to school.” She believed that the rally attracted not just Nigerian Americans like herself, but also a diverse crowd of men and women who champion a range of social justice causes like women’s empowerment, sex trafficking, education, and connecting the African diaspora.
The protest occurred on the eve of the World Economic Forum on Africa, which will be held in Abuja on May 7-9. Adele-Oso and co-organizers intended to mount pressure and media attention on Nigeria as global leaders descend upon Africa’s largest economy.