National Consumers League

NCL expresses grave concern over fate of kidnapped Nigerian girls

May 14, 2014

Contact: Ben Klein, National Consumers League (202) 835-3323,

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s pioneering consumer organization with a history of opposing the exploitation of children, urges Nigeria and the world community to secure the return of the 276 missing school girls, kidnapped by Boko Haram, an Islamic rebel group in Nigeria April 14-15. "Boko Haram" translated means "Western education is sin” and the group subscribes to the theory that girls should not be educated. “This is an international human rights crisis of the utmost urgency,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL’s executive director and co-chair of the Child Labor Coalition (CLC).

Earlier this month, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau threatened to sell the girls as slaves for as little as $12 each. According to Amnesty International, Boko Haram militants massacred more than 200 in Nigeria earlier this month. The mass kidnapping was the culmination of years of terror attacks.

“As the co-chair and co-founder of 25-year-old of CLC, NCL knows only too well the dangers these girls face,” noted Reid Maki, NCL’s director of child labor advocacy. “Around the world, thousands of girls are taken by armed groups and are subjected to being trafficked or enslaved as sex workers and domestic servants. The longer these girls remain under the control of Boko Haram, the greater the risk.”

Recently, Nigeria said it had deployed two army divisions to hunt for the girls. Several nations including the United States, Britain, Israel, and France have offered to help or send experts.

Boko Haram maintains that it will not release the girls until its militant detainees are released. Nigerian officials are reluctant to do so for many reasons, including the fear that it will lead to more kidnappings in the future.

“We must collectively keep up the greatest pressure on Nigeria and the international community to do everything possible to bring these girls back,” said Maki. “More than a million people have tweeted #BringBackOurGirls. More than 900,000 have signed an online petition urging the return of the girls. These may be simple gestures, but collectively they are exerting pressure to do everything possible to bring the girls back.”

“We applaud President Obama and the First Lady for speaking out on this issue,” said NCL’s Greenberg.

"Around the world, more than 65 million girls are not in school,” noted the First Lady.“Education is truly a girl’s best chance for a bright future, not just for herself but for her family and her nation.”

"The Nigerian girls are my sisters," said Malala Yousafzai, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt after she dared to go to school. The Malala Fund, which raises money for girls' education initiatives around the world has launched a Nigerian girls education campaign to support Nigerian organizations which are working to promote girls' schooling around the country.

The Nigerian government has also committed an additional $10 million.

“This tragedy is a painful reminder that girls face many obstacles to their education and much work needs to be done to protect them and their access to schools,” said Maki.


About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Its mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit