Boko Haram’s spree of violence in northern Nigeria still rages on, but the creator of the popular #BringBackOurGirls campaign says he is proud of the impetus for action that his hashtag provided.
The #BringBackOurGirls campaign emerged in the wake of the kidnapping of more than 200 girls by Boko Haram in April 2014. The hashtag put the Nigerian Islamist group’s violent tactics in the spotlight, with celebrities, activists and even First Lady Michelle Obama chiming in via social media.
In an interview with HuffPost Live on Tuesday, Ibrahim Abdullahi, who created the campaign, said he is “happy” that the hashtag sparked interest in the abducted students. He first coined the hashtag on April 23 at a UNESCO event in Port Harcourt after Dr. Oby Ezekwesili used the phrase during a speech. Abdullahi, a lawyer and managing partner at a Nigerian law firm, weighed in on the progress that the campaign made in the movement against Boko Haram.
"The essence of the hashtag was to create awareness so that the whole country and the whole world will know what is happening in Northeastern Nigeria and then offer some assistance to the people, but especially the children who are ... vulnerable in that area," he said.
While critics have been vocal about the ineffectiveness of social media activism to bring tangible action to the areas that need it most, Abdullahi said the hashtag did have its effects. According to Abdullahi, on-the-ground campaigns and demonstrations are happening nearly every day.
"I think it’s not just social media activity. There have been also demonstrations, physically here in Nigeria, especially in Abuja," he said.
Hear more from #BringBackOurGirls creator Ibrahim Abdullahi in the clip above.
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