The exact moment the world lost interest in the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls.

A girl said to be one of the kidnapped teenagers in a video released last month by Boko Haram.


Four of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants last month have reportedly escaped their captors.

The education commissioner for Nigeria’s Borno, Musa Inuwa, told Reuters by telephone on Wednesday the four girls had been reunited with their parents.

But Mr Inuwa said 219 of the kidnapped teenagers were still missing.

Fifty-three girls escaped shortly after the initial mass abduction on 14 April, authorities in Borno state say.

Previously, Mamamia wrote:

The kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls have been found.

Yes, you read that correctly. The girls stolen from their school dormitory last month — the girls that Boko Haram’s leader boasted were “slaves” to be sold; the girls whose parents have been mourning since they were stolen by armed men in the middle of the night six weeks ago; the girls our hearts ached for as we called for world authorities to #BringBackOurGirls — have been located by the Nigerian military.

But it’s not all happy news. Because while Nigeria’s chief of defence Air Marshal Alex Badeh has announced the military has found the girls, he fears using force to try to free them could get them killed.

“(W)e know where they are, but we cannot tell you,” Badeh reportedly said at a demonstration in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, yesterday. “But where they are held, can we go there with force? We can’t kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back.”

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in a still from the video.

This is a huge development in a story of international significance — not only because so many innocent lives are at stake, but because of its political implications on a global scale — given that Boko Haram has international connections to al-Qaeda.

Not to mention that the outcome of this deadlock has such far-reaching implications for the rights of girls to education and the rights of all human beings to choose their religion.

But the development is nowhere to be seen on the front pages of the mainstream newspapers. And here’s why.

Newspapers and websites generally publish what people will read — in many ways they have to in order to remain afloat — and it’s common knowledge that interest in news stories tend to fade over time.

And according to an analytics service called Google Trends, which can be used to examine how many people search for given terms over a certain period, the world lost interest in these stolen Nigerian schoolgirls two-and-a-half weeks ago.


That’s less than one week after the news of their abductions was reported in the mainstream media.

Yes, it’s depressing but true: Political blog Think Progress has revealing that while the #BringBackOurGirls” hashtag was generating a lot of online activity on Friday May 9 — the day after Michelle Obama’s #BringBackOurGirls appeals went viral — internet searches for the hashtag dropped off sharply the following Monday.

ThinkProgress also ran a query for the term “Nigeria girls,” and the results similarly show a clear peak on May 8 followed by a substantial drop-off in interest.

This data presents a real dilemma.

Because while the public continues to lose interest in the plight of more than 270 teenage girls who may already have been “married” off their abductors in what amount to a sex-slave arrangement, news outlets will be hesitant to give this story front-page space.

And while this story remains off the front page, there’ll be less and less pressure on governments to assist in the search.

On the United Nations Security Council to place further sanctions against Boko Haram, and further pressure on Nigeria to take the matter seriously.

On the Nigerian military to take decisive and effective action to bring these girls home.

But we don’t think that’s okay, so here’s our pledge: We’re going to continue to run this story, and we won’t stop until the girls are returned.

Because, as ThinkProgress aptly notes, “while interest in the tale of Boko Haram and the kidnapped girls is exiting the public imagination around the world, the story remains sharply burned in the minds of Nigerians.”

And because, as believers in the right to women and girls to education, freedom of religion, the story remains sharply burned in our minds also.

Mass protests about government inaction following the abductions have taken place across the world, from Los Angeles to London. Here are some images from the protests:

Take action at the Amnesty International website by sending a message to Ambassador Adebowale Adefuyeor donating to the cause.