Two days after ending her three-day visit to Nigeria, Pakistani girls’ education campaigner, Malala Yousafzai, has launched a petition seeking international intervention for the release of the abducted Chibok girls.
The 17-year-old activist, who survived assassination attempts by the Taliban extremist group, stated that she wanted the global community to stand with the Nigerian girls and shame those working to deny schoolgirls an education.
Malala, in the petition she hosted on change.org, a go-to website for hosting online protests, reminded world leaders that the abducted girls must get the assurances that “they are not alone.”
As of Wednesday evening, Malala had collected over 60,000 signatures from concerned individuals and groups from different parts of the world, many of who demanded greater action for the prompt rescue of the girls.
In the petition titled, “Stand with me and the Nigerian girls,” the girls’ campaigner said the world must not be silent “while our sisters in Nigeria and around the world are targeted in this war on education.”
According to her, young girls from different parts of the world have a right to an education adding that the safe return of “our innocent sisters in Nigeria” must be at the front burner.
“Show the world we are stronger than those who deny schoolgirls an education. As strong and determined as we are, we cannot do this on our own. These girls in Nigeria must know they are not alone; we will not forget those still in captivity.
“We need you to stand with us. Sign this petition to show you are with us, and that together we are stronger than fear, oppression and violence. We are stronger than those who stand in our way. Stand with us, and together we will win,” she wrote on the petition.
According to many of those who signed the petition, the missing girls must be found and brought home as their present predicament is simply horrible.
One of the petitioners, Mary Stevens from Guelph, Canada, said it was about time people stood up and did something about the freedom of the girls.
“All people deserve an education and an opportunity to grow in mind and spirit. We must all stand up and be counted and support this petition. We will make a difference. I am stronger than apathy,” she said.
First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, hailed Malala for standing with the Chibok girls and other schoolgirls being denied the opportunity to further their education.
Writing on her official Twitter page, Michelle stated, “Thank you Malala for inspiring girls around the world to be stronger than adversity and pursue their education.”
Also, Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates, in a message on Twitter, stated that she has drawn inspiration from Malala’s solidarity with the young girls facing hardship with accessing educational opportunities.
“I’m inspired by Malala and girls around the world who are proof that courage is stronger than fear,” she tweeted.
Meanwhile, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, and ex-British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has hailed the efforts of the #BringBackOurGirls coalition in campaigning for the freedom of the abducted girls.
Against the backdrop of allegations by the Federal Government that the group was politicising the abduction and being run as a franchise, Brown described the solidarity of the group for the girls as relentless.
“In Nigeria ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ are leading the charge as they stand in solidarity with the girls who have now been in captivity for more than three months. The group has campaigned relentlessly for the girls’ safe release,” a message on Brown’s website on Wednesday, quoted him as saying.
In another message on his Twitter page, Brown stated that schools should be safe havens and places of learning and not theatres of war.
He added that the United Kingdom should extend more assistance to Nigeria to effectively contain the menace being posed by Boko Haram.
“Britain must give more help to Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram,” he tweeted.
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on the Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the #BringBackOurGirls group meant well for the Nigerian nation.
“The #bringbackourgirls campaign groups are pursuing a good cause and that cause should be supported by all well-meaning Nigerians,” she wrote in a Twitter post.