Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-24)
Today, we mark a sad milestone: 500 days have passed since Boko Haram abducted nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls from their dormitory rooms in the dark of night and 219 of them are still missing. I ask America to join me in creating a Twitter storm to commemorate the 500 days of mystery surrounding the missing Chibok schoolgirls. Tweet messages of hope and peace. Tweet prayers, pictures of remembrance, blessings for the families, and words of consolation for everyone involved.
Tweet all day long. Tweet whenever you think about it. Tweet, tweet, tweet. The more we tweet the more pressure there will be to return the girls to safety.
During my first visit to Nigeria last June, I was inspired by the Nigerian “Bring Back Our Girls” movement and the courage displayed by the activists and the girls’ families, who have spent each and every one of the past 500 days making sure their girls are not forgotten. Their constancy and faith have been galvanizing. That is why I promised to lead the effort to #BringBackOurGirls in the United States.
The Chibok girls’ abduction has helped Nigeria learn important lessons about the power of democracy and diplomacy. Frustrated by the indifference and inaction of former President Goodluck Johnathan, Nigerian voters elected a new leader – Muhammadu Buhari, the nation’s third democratically elected head of state, who has made the defeat of Boko Haram his new administration’s top priority.
During my second visit to Nigeria earlier this month, I urged the West African nation’s citizens to hold President Buhari and other elected and military officials to their word. Just as the world must not forget the Chibok girls, these officials must never forget what they were hired to do: find the girls, defeat Boko Haram, rebuild the communities the group has decimated. They must also create economic and educational opportunities for the young Nigerians who are tempted by the terrorist group’s lure because they feel they have no other options.