ON THE OCCASION OF THE ONE-YEAR COMMEMORATION MARCH BY #CHIBOKGIRLSAMBASSADORS (PART OF GLOBAL SCHOOLGIRL MARCH)
14 April 2015
Today, 14 April, 2015 is that dreadful day we never imagined will come without having back our missing precious 219 Chibok schoolgirls, abducted exactly one year ago today.
We have just concluded a march by#ChibokGirlsAmbassadors (part of the global schoolgirl march). We express our immense gratitude to our #ChibokGirlsAmbassadors for being the right voices to carry the message of their generational peers on a day like this.
We have been demanding for the last nearly one year but nothing is more remarkable than having peers of our missing schoolgirls carry out an exclusive activity for their cause. This is a generation that will grow with a well-developed sense of humanity, of standing for others, and also demanding accountability from their leaders. We also thank their parents and guardians for not only allowing, but encouraging them to participate. Your efforts in raising kind, caring as well as responsible girls shall never be in vain.
The citizens across Nigeria and around the world have participated in several solidarity activities for our #ChibokGirls in the last one year. We must acknowledge empathetic people all over the world who have raised their voices for our girls; from the one million women in Mexico who marched for their cause, to the hundreds of thousand who have stood for this cause from Mexico, to South Africa, to the UK, to Afghanistan; New Zealand to Syria, to Japan, the US and so on. Rich, poor; male, female; the young and the older; across all walks and perceived divides; all bound in a shared humanity demanding #BringBackOurGirls Now and Alive! We stand in solidarity with you today as you mark this day. Among the special commemoration activities today will be the lighting of the Empire State building in New York City with the colours red and purple. Red being specifically for our #ChibokGirls, purple for against violence on women generally.
Likewise, we express profound gratitude for the continued efforts of some friends of our girls, who have stayed committed to their cause all through the past year. Friends of OUR #ChibokGirls like the First lady of the United States– Michelle Obama, youngest Noble Peace Prize winner- Malala Yousafzai and global music icon— Alicia Keys, as well as the media are notable in their efforts.
We thank Nigeria’s president-elect for his kind and soothing words on the occasion of this one-year commemoration; wherein he promises among other things to do everything he can to #BringBackOurGirls when he becomes the president, if they are still alive. However, this does not address our concerns. We demand that the safe return of our girls be the top agenda of the transition between the present and the incoming one.
Our #ChibokGirls are the global symbol for the defence of the dignity and sanctity of human life; of the girl child, women, for all those oppressed, repressed, disadvantaged, hurting, unsafe persons everywhere. As long as they stay missing, it means nothing is as yet working. We must all prioritise their safe return.
To United Nations, we reiterate and renew our year-long demands thus:
1. That the UN should, through its relevant agencies, deploy relevant instruments in ensuring the prompt rescue of our Chibok girls and other abductees, as well as improve the security situation in the country.
2. Escalate and process the request of the Chibok nation for the help of independent private investigators.
3. Call on world leaders and other members of the international community to reactivate their support for the #BringBackOurGirls cause and push it back as a prioritised discourse because the only logical closure to this issue would be when our girls have been brought back and insurgency becomes a thing of the past.
We are, a non-partisan civic movement and therefore shall continue to advocate and demand for justice for our 219 Chibok girls. Until our girls are rescued, our Movement will not stop.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls
Hadiza Bala Usman