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Search for the Nigerian girls continues

Nia Sanders | 7/17/2014, 10:33 a.m.

Nigerians and Americans of all ages stood in front of Nigeria House, the Consulate General of Nigeria, in Manhattan with signs that said “Bring Back Our Girls” and “Freedom Now for Kidnapped #NigerianGirls.”

“We demand action, not mere talk!” shouted 26-year-old Nse Umoh Esema, a first-generation Nigerian-American who traveled from Boston to attend the Friday, June 27 rally. “End the killings! Stop Boko Haram! Rescue our girls!”

The rally focused on the crisis concerning the schoolgirls of Chibok who were kidnapped in mid-April by the extremist Islamic group, Boko Haram. More than 10 weeks have passed since this incident occurred, and the girls remain missing.

“These people [Boko Haram] are criminals,” explained Comfort B. Asanbe. “They bomb schools. They bomb churches. They are just criminals. They took the girls because they know they can get attention. What the country has descended into is so disheartening for those of us who were born and raised there.”

The names of the missing schoolgirls were called out, and a speech was delivered by Bukola Oreofe, director of the Nigerian Democratic Liberty Forum, who was visibly angered by the duration of the girls’ captivity.

“Nigeria has a government that spends billions of dollars on security, and they have nothing to show for it!” Oreofe declared. “Step up or step down!”

The Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, has been criticized for his slow response to the kidnappings. He stated in his op-ed piece in the Washington Post that his silence is required to keep the girls safe, but he is working with the Nigerian government to punish Boko Haram for their actions. Nigerians remain skeptical of his words.

“I can assure you, these girls are crying and calling on us to help,” Oreofe said. “So we have to call on the international community to disregard whatever Jonathan is doing and rescue these girls.”

Boko Haram remains active. Sunday, June 29, they were suspected of attacking people living in Katukari, a village near Chibok. A common notion throughout the nation is that the group ultimately would like to eliminate Christians from the country and create an Islamic state.