Joe Parkinson, Africa Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal, Co-Author, 'Bring Back Our Girls'
Drew Hinshaw, Senior Reporter, Wall Street Journal, Co-Author, 'Bring Back Our Girls'
Discussant: Stephanie Busari, Supervising Editor, Africa, CNN
Chair: Dr Leena Koni Hoffmann, Associate Fellow, Africa Programme, Chatham House
In April 2014 more than 276 girls were abducted from their school in Chibok, northeast Nigeria by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. Despite the massacre two months earlier of over fifty school boys ascribed to Boko Haram, it was the Chibok abductions that propelled the then little-known group to global infamy, capturing the attention of the international community.
The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls saw high profile policymakers, celebrities and religious leaders shine a light on the abductions, calling for a sustained international effort to locate and free the ‘Chibok Girls’. The recently published book Bring Back Our Girls explores the promise and peril of ‘hashtag advocacy’ in an era where political priorities can be transformed by digital activism.
Seven years on from the abductions, many of the security challenges the Federal Government of Nigeria faced in the immediate aftermath of the kidnappings have worsened and abductions of school children by criminal gangs are taking place in other parts of the country. Whilst the attention of the international community may have shifted away from Nigeria, the human cost of insecurity continues to negatively impact the citizens of Africa’s most populous country.
ORGANIZER: Chatham House