By Senator Mobina Jaffer
As the rest of the world watched 200 of our daughters get abducted on April 14th, we too watched from a distance with broken hearts and rising anger. Over a month later, Boko Haram still holds our girls captive, and the girls are not accounted for. Sadly, it seems like the government in Nigeria did not take immediate steps to quickly deal with the incident. They were slow to act, and now we need to look at how we can help our girls come back to safety.
This incident has haunted me with flashbacks of my time working with survivors from Joseph Kony’s Lord Resistance Army. He, too, terrorized young children; holding them captive and turning them into child soldiers. Among these flashbacks, I remember my dear Evelyn Apoko. Evelyn was one of the children that I worked with personally. Her story is truly remarkable.
Evelyn Apoko was separated from her family and abducted as a young girl. At 10 years old, Evelyn was caught in an air raid where a bomb exploded near her, blowing away part of her face. She did not receive medical attention for two years. At 13, after being emotionally scarred and physically disfigured, Evelyn successfully escaped from the Lord’s Resistance Army. She now works tirelessly to help other children that suffered a similar fate get better, and continues to be an inspiration to me and the world around her.
Actors that use terror to initiate fear into their communities are cowards. The fear they wish to initiate into the community ultimately turns into outrage. All over the world, we hold a place in our hearts for the Nigerian girls that have been abducted. We wish for their safe return home. The world is watching as the Nigerian government attempts to deal with this situation, but we too must act.
Our government has offered its support to help the Nigerian government find the girls and return them to safety. We have sent experts to Nigeria to support the international and local team there that are trying to get the girls home to safety. But we must stay vigilant. We must remember how these girls are not the only ones that have fallen into this unfortunate fate. And we must continue to work with clear focus until situations like this are no longer able to occur.
Our children are our future. Let’s pray that our daughters are returned soon. These are our girls that have been taken. If there is anything more you think I personally can do to help return them home, please reach out to me.
I look forward to hearing from you, and I encourage you to keep these girls in your thoughts.
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