Close to 300 teenage girls remain in captivity after a militant extremist group kidnapped them in Northeast Nigeria on April 14th. Doctor Ojoma Edeh is an Associate Professor at Millersville University in Lancaster County. She also grew up and attended school in Nigeria and knows what it’s like to be a target.
Edeh had an arranged marriage at 15 and was divorced with a child by 19. Life could be hard growing up in Northern Nigeria. “I remember when I was running from cemetey to cemetery to avoid being raped because the culture says if you rape anybody in the cemetary you get paralyzed” said Edeh.
She believes the kidnapped girls were targeted for being students. “Girls in my area are not supposed to be educated. They’re supposed to grow up and learn how to be good wives and make babies” said Edeh. Around 50 of the girls have been able to escape, but roughly 270 are still in captivity. Celebrities including P-Diddy, Julia Roberts and the first lady have all come forward in support of the girls by being photographed with signs that say “Bring Back Our Girls.” However Edeh said that’s not enough.
“The sign that we hold, bring our girls home, it’s not going to do anything” said Edeh. She thinks that political intervention and pressure by the US government is the only way to free the girls. In the meantime she said she is praying for their safety. Edeh has also written a book about her experiences growing up in Nigeria called Ojoma’s Song.