nigerians in the united states are educating, organizing and praying for the safe return of the nearly 300 nigerian school girls still missing after Islamic extremists yanked them from school in broad daylight three weeks ago.
many nigerians are grateful for the attention this tragedy has brought. they hope it will finally lead to the downfall of boko haram, the merciless terrorist group who proudly claimed responsibility for the odious kidnappings.
onaedo achebe, 21, told abcnews.com she fears for her family's lives in nigeria if unrest in the country spirals into civil war. said achebe, "this didn't start with the abduction of the girls." the tampa, florida woman has urged followers on social media to sign online petitions demanding world leaders to act swiftly and decisively.
achebe said, "if something happens in america, obama comes up the next minute to address the nation. you know something is going to be done - people feel safe. you don't feel safe in nigeria. you don't know who's going to come to your house, where there are suicide bombers. there's no security, no guarantee of life."
achebe moved to the u.s. from nigeria in 2010. she said, "in nigeria, you're either really, really rich or really, really poor. there's no middle class. the government doesn't help. if there is a war, they can afford to take private jets and leave the country. they don't care about the poor people. unless other organizations and countries get involved, they're not going to do anything to help these girls."
laolu akande, executive director of the christian association of nigerian-americans shared identical views with abcnews.com. akande said, "this is not a new issue. in a sense we are glad the whole world is focusing on this now. we hope the u.s. government helps us. the nigerian government by itself is helpless. we need this help."
akande, whose parents and in-laws are still in nigeria, said nigerians in the u.s. are terrified for their families back home. he said, "the whole world can relate to a girl being abducted. nigerians here are worried." akande led a rally in new york city on tuesday to raise awareness of the missing girls and boko haram. a similar rally was held in washington, d.c.
olawunmi awobajo, a 55 year-old nigerian immigrant and single mother of two in brooklyn, echoed akande. "someone told me a couple days ago. i was stunned. i don't even know what to say. this is sickening," she said. awobajo urged the u.s. and british governments to help. she said, "nigeria was colonized 54 years ago. let them take nigeria back again. we're not up to the task. kids are suffering in nigeria. no one can carry a job."
supporters worldwide are rallying on social media, using the hashtag #bringbackourgirls. akande said some nigerian-americans have blacked out their profile photo on facebook until the girls are returned safely. he also said the christian association of Nigerian-americans is raising funds for the families whose children are still missing - and whose homes were bombed by boko haram.
achebe criticized the mild response from nigeria's first lady. achebe said, "i was so embarrassed. she wasn't even speaking proper english. she wasn't addressing the people with respect. she was so rude. she doesn't care about the feelings of people whose children have been kidnapped. all she cares about is her husband's government is in jeopardy."
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.