Protesters in Saskatchewan believe it’s about time that the world takes note of atrocities in developing nations.
A social media campaign has drawn an international outcry to the abduction of more than 270 Nigerian schoolgirls, and there are demonstrations planned in this province’s largest urban centres.
“It is a global issue,” says Rebecca Otitoju, an immigrant from Nigeria and one of the organizers of the event in Regina on May 15 at 12:30 p.m. at the legislative grounds.
Radical Islamists under the banner Boko Haram – which translates to “Western education is sinful” – stormed a boarding school in the predominantly Christian Nigerian town of Chibok on April 15.
But the country’s government has been slow to react, and it wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that #BringBackOurGirls began trending online.
“We cannot keep quiet because we think we are safe (in Canada),” said Otitoju.
She added that while attacking the militants could be disastrous, she is happy to see Canada and the U.S. offering to aid in the hunt and hopes they will continue to do so.
The University of Saskatchewan’s Global Peace Alliance (GPA) is planning to gather outside city hall on May 11 at 1 p.m. to condemn the actions of the terrorists and violence against women.
David Ogunkanmi, a Nigerian student and president of the GPA, says without the help of the Internet, the tragedy might not have received all this attention.
“The hashtagging has made people know what is actually going on,” he said.
GPA treasurer Phaedra Hitchings added that such crimes often go unnoticed.
“If Canadian girls were among the ones kidnapped, we would have heard about it much more quickly,” she said.
And with the Saskatoon demonstration landing on Mother’s Day, Ogunkanmi said the timing is poignant as “these girls could be your daughter, and they could have been mothers someday.”
Note: This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. on May 8 to include the Regina demonstration.