Nigerian transplants in Philly want to keep pressure on

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Members of the Nigerian diaspora have held two rallies in downtown Philadelphia to bring attention to the kidnapped girls.

In West Africa, the government of Nigeria claims to know the location of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in April by the extremist group Boko Haram. At least 6,000 people born in Nigeria live in the greater Philadelphia area with their families.  Community leaders say that pressure must continue on the Nigerian government to address violence in that country.

Members of the Nigerian diaspora have held two rallies in downtown Philadelphia to bring attention to the kidnapped girls.

 

“Obviously none of us are going to be able to fly over there and start searching in the woods ourselves for these poor girls,” said Chioma Azi, a founder of the group Philadelphia Nigerian Professionals. “If we are talking about it, if we are holding each other accountable, if we are holding our government accountable, it can make a difference.”

The dramatic kidnapping has riveted people around the world for weeks.

Azi, who grew up in the United States, says the perception among the region’s Nigerian diaspora is that the government there has been slow to react to the kidnappings and years of violence in Nigeria’s north.

She said the goal of organizers is to raise long-term awareness of what’s happening in the region.

“We’re hoping it doesn’t happen anytime soon, but we’re prepared for the world to turn their eye onto the next issue,” Azi said. “But Nigerians have to be prepared to keep talking about this issue and putting pressure on their government. They have to.”

As far as immediate next steps, after the rallies held by her organization and a Nigerian church, Azi said her group is trying to figure out its next steps.

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