Protest outside Nigerian embassy in Dublin over abductions
Protestors call for release of 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamic militants Boko Haram
Protestors outside the Nigerian embassy in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
About 30 members of the Nigerian diaspora in Ireland, some of who had family members affected by the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in the African state, protested loudly outside their country’s embassy in Dublin yesterday morning.
Carrying placards saying “Bring our girls back” and “Rescue Our Chibole girls”, the protestors chanted: “Bring our girls back.” They called on Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan to accept assistance from the United States and Britain in finding the girls.
More than 200 girls were abducted from a boarding school in the Chibole province of northeast Nigeria over three weeks ago by the militant Islamic group Boko Haram. The group has also claimed responsibility for the abduction of another eight girls, aged 12 to 15, in recent days.
The group opposes “western education” of Nigeria’s young people, in particular girls. It has threatened to sell the abducted girls as “brides” – ie into the global sex-trafficking industry.
Remi Alice Sello, one of those protesting outside the Nigerian embassy, said if one Irish girl went missing the Garda would be out looking for her within a day. “But in Nigeria 200 girls go missing and nobody cares. That is unacceptable, President Jonathan. Boko Haram, enough is enough. We want you out of Nigeria. We are tired of all this insecurity, all this torment, all this terrorism. No to terrorism. No to Boko Haram and we want our girls back.”
She said the people of Nigeria needed “help from everybody” in defeating the methods of Boko Haram. “If it takes America to come in, Ireland to come in, the UK to come in, come in we are happy with that help,” she said.
Another woman, also from Nigeria, said she was there as a “concerned mother”. She has a 17-year-old daughter in Ireland.
“I would break down not to be able to see her for one hour. We are saying, ‘Stand up, President Jonathan.’ We want to be able to go back home and bring our kids. Our kids are saying they can’t come back with us because it is not safe.”
“We come into contact a lot with the human face of women and girls from Nigeria who have been trafficked into the sex industry here,” she said.
Sr Julie Doran from the Our Lady’s Missionaries said she had spent most of her working life in northern Nigeria. “These are my people. We are just praying for a miracle now that these girls will be found and returned safe,” she said.
The protestors handed a letter for President Jonathan to a member of the consular staff, Umar Abba. He said everyone in the embassy was “truly concerned” about the abduction of the girls: “We are all parents. We feel the pain. The government is doing all it can to get the children back.”
He said the area where they had been abducted was “very difficult terrain” and that the priority had to be to get the girls back safely: “That explains the slight delay.”
The Nigerian government had accepted the international offers of help, he said.
“It has also assured that within a very short period of the time the girls will be returned to their parents,” he added.