It has been more than a fortnight since over 200 schoolgirls were abducted from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, north-eastern Nigeria, and there is a chronic lack of information about the whereabouts of the schoolgirls. This is a major issue for the Nigerian Diaspora in my community who are extremely concerned about the schoolgirls and the security situation in Nigeria more generally.
I have written to the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, raising my concerns about the dreadful situation and have asked him to meet me. Many of my constituents have family members in northern Nigeria and some also have children in school there. They need reassuring that the UK Government is doing all it to help the Nigerian Government to locate and safely return the missing schoolgirls. I will continue to raise this issue in Parliament to ensure the Government is doing all it can to assist the Nigerian authorities in their efforts to bring the girls home.
My letter to the Foreign Secretary –
Rt. Hon. William Hague MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London, SW1A 2AH
30th April 2014
Re: Abduction of schoolgirls from Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, north-eastern Nigeria on Monday 14th April 2014.
I am concerned about the dreadful situation of the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from their Secondary School in north-eastern Nigeria. It has been 16 days since the abduction and there is very little information about the whereabouts of these schoolgirls.
I very much welcome your statement on the 16th April condemning the attack and abduction and stating that the UK government stands ready to provide assistance to the Nigerian government to ensure these children can be returned to their families in safety.
This is a major issue for the Nigerian Diaspora in my constituency. Many of my constituents have family members in northern Nigeria, and some, of course have children in school in Nigeria. They are extremely concerned about the schoolgirls in their country of origin and the security situation more generally.
There seems to be a chronic lack of information. What is your understanding of how many of the girls were abducted, how many have escaped and how many are still being held?
It seems to me something which the UN Women’s Agency should be actively engaged on. Have you approached them about this? Have you raised this with your fellow European Ministers of Foreign Affairs – concerted help and pressure from governments around Europe is important.
I would like to meet you to tell you of my constituents’ concerns and hear what assistance the UK Government is providing to the Nigerian Government to help them locate and safely return the missing schoolgirls.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Rt. Hon. Harriet Harman QC MP