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New York, NY - May 2, 2014
As the founder and President of Kechie’s Project, a New York based nonprofit organization that mentors and empowers girls through education, I am compelled to speak out against the recent kidnapping of over two hundred and thirty girls from their boarding school, in Borno State of Nigeria.
I am appalled by the lack of rescue efforts by Nigerians toward this situation. It has been over two weeks and there should be no one keeping silent about this heinous crime. Keeping silent goes against the mission of our organization. We must be courageous enough to take advantage of the freedom those of us in diaspora have to speak up against any form of injustice against women that is being taken place in our society
.As a proactive participant of international relations throughout my graduate years, I am shocked by the lack of nationalism being exhibited by Nigerians concerning this case. There is no nation that would be able to move forward or progress without a sense of national identity.
Many years ago, like many others before me, I left the shores of Nigeria to America for a better life with hope of coming back to do my part to make Nigeria a better country. I was named Nkechi because my family's friends expressed disappointment about my mother having another girl instead of a boy. Knowing that reason for my name has been one of the single motivating factors that keeps me going each morning. I set out a plan to come to America. I would get an education, return home, create a YMCA for girls, make my father proud for equally believing in the education of his girls and most importantly prove to those family friends that girls can achieve greatness and are equally important.
I have been pondering over my great return to Nigeria one day but with the security challenges people are facing daily, America is now where I have peace and security. America is home for now and has been. The hope of returning to my homeland has been slipping away especially after the current situation of these kidnappings. I am reliving the same kind of trauma I experienced in 2011 when my own mother was kidnapped for extortion. My family paid the ultimate sacrifice when our father passed on exactly one month after our mom’s return. My family’s experience is now nothing compared to the case of over 234 girls missing. Why keep quite in the face of injustice?
I would like to return to a country where everyone has a duty to demand and will stand up for any form of injustice against women, girls and all. I would like to return to a Nigeria where, when one part of the country is hurting, the rest is hurting as well. A country where there is no oga at the top but a level playing field for all Nigerians for self-determination and actualization. A Nigeria where its people, regardless of what part of the country they are from, are proud to be Nigerians, with a common shared national interest.
It has been more than two weeks since the kidnapping of these girls from their boarding school in Borno State of Nigeria, yet every day on social media, Nigerians are not making this issue their main priority. The girls are not our daughters, sisters and nieces so why should we care?
As Nigerians, we owe it to these innocent young girls to do whatever we can to find them. I cannot imagine the trauma, rape and violation that these girls are dealing with. They are innocent. Please return these girls to their families. These girl are somebody’s children, these girls are the future.
Kechie’s Project Inc.
New York, NY