We the members of the FEMNET Board, Secretariat as well as Members comprising of women’s rights activists and organizations from over 42 countries in Africa as well as from the Diaspora condemn in the strongest possible terms the abduction, proposed sale of young girls and the sluggish response of the Government of Nigeria to take action to rescue the 276 girls. This is not withstanding the hundreds that were killed on Monday and noting previous abductions and killings by Boko Haram.
Global leaders including African Heads of State have converged in Nigeria for the World Economic Forum. The forum which begun on May 7th and ends today, May 9th was convened to discuss matters such as inclusive growth and job creation so as to transform economies and reduce poverty. It is unacceptable that these discussions are taking place in a context where young girls, our future leaders, can be abducted for over three weeks with no concrete and immediate action being taken. As the discussions on job creation, youth unemployment among others are taking place at the World Economic Forum, hundreds of parents in Chibok, Nigeria await anxiously to be reunited with their daughters after the attack that took place on the night of April 14th and was followed by a subsequent attack where additional girls were abducted.
It is unacceptable that the Government of Nigeria took over two weeks to even issue a response to this tragedy. If the role of Government is not to protect the lives of all of their citizens, then what is its purpose?
“We cannot continue to live in a world where crimes against humanity such as abductions, sexual slavery, forced marriages, denial of education and senseless killings continue to exist and our leaders are not accountable. We demand all African Heads of State to demand action from their counterpart, H.E Jonathan Goodluck for the safe delivery of these young girls to their families immediately. Inclusive growth does not exist in a vacuum. Our leaders need to translate their talk into real action and rally forces to #BringBackOurGirls.” – Dinah Musindarwezo, Executive Director of FEMNET.
We therefore call upon our leaders to #TakeActionNow and ensure an end to the killings as well as the safe return of all the abducted girls. We echo the sentiments by UNFPA Executive Director, Professor Babatunde Osotimehin and Under Secretary-General, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in their statement, “The violation of the rights of women and girls on such a scale no matter who they are or where they are requires the whole world to stand up and take action. We are racing against time and every moment counts.”