Special Events, Vigils Mark Second Anniversary of Chibok Abductions

Photo courtesy of Roxane and Carl Hill
Students at Mount Vernon Nazarene University are just one of the groups around the world who have been praying for the release of the schoolgirls abducted from Chibok. These students formed a prayer circle, Nigerian style, after hearing a presentation by Carl and Roxane Hill about the Chibok girls and the Nigeria Crisis Response.

Here is information about some of the special events and prayer vigils planned to commemorate this anniversary, including a first-ever memorial event at the school in Chibok for the parents and families that will integrate both Christian and Muslim faiths:

— In Nigeria, in addition to the various prayer vigils that will be held in homes and churches, the government gave permission for a memorial event to be held at the school in Chibok. The event will include a prayer session integrating both Muslim and Christian faiths. The event is reported in African media at http://allafrica.com/stories/201604060978.html . Lawan Zanna, secretary of the Parents of the Abducted Girls from Chibok Association, said the government had agreed to give the parents access to the school that is heavily guarded, and all the parents of the missing girls are expected to attend.  “We have also invited all the government officials from Chibok and they also promised to allow any person from the media to join us,” said Zanna, whose 18-year-old daughter is among the missing girls.

— In the United States, congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson is organizing several events at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and has invited a Chibok escapee to speak at a congregational forum and a press conference at the Capitol. An ongoing witness while Congress is in session has been dubbed “Wear Something Red Wednesday,” in which women wear red and hold up signs to ensure that the girls are not forgotten. Related vigils and events were held in Houston, Texas, on April 8 and 10, and are planned for Washington, D.C., on April 13 and 14; New York, N.Y., on April 15 and 16; and Silver Spring, Md., on April 16.

— Today in Washington, D.C., Nathan Hosler, director of the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness, was a panelist at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Briefing on the Chibok anniversary. The event was in conjunction with Act4Accountability, Amnesty International USA, the Church of the Brethren, and the Congressional African Staff Association. The briefing titled “Nigeria after the Chibok Abductions: An Update on Human Rights and Governance” also included panelists Omolola Adele-Oso, co-founder and executive director of Act4Accountability; Madeline Rose, senior policy advisor for Mercy Corps; Lauren Ploch Blanchard, specialist in African Affairs, Congressional Research Service
Moderator; and Carl Levan, assistant professor at the School of International Service, American University. Opening remarks were brought by congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson and congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

— Nathan Hosler also will be one of the speakers at a vigil organized by Act4Accountability at a large Nigerian church near Washington, D.C., on April 14.

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