Whilst canvassing in Letterkenny last Friday, EU election candidate Senator Rónán Mullen posted a message under the Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls to his online Twitter followers to highlight the plight of the 329 Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped by a group of armed men on 14th April last.
However, Senator Mullen is questioning how much influence such an online Twitter campaign has, particularly as despite the international online campaign, promoted by politicians and celebrities alike, the Nigerian schoolgirls have still not been released by the Boko Haram.
Senator Mullen said: “Boko Haram is a militant jihadist group. It is nonsensical to suppose that a message I send of a picture taken of myself and my supporters in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, holding a sign saying #BringBackOurGirls, is going to have the slightest impact on a violent terrorist organisation that abducted 329 Nigerian schoolgirls at gunpoint.”
“It is an indictment of international diplomacy that politicians and celebrities have to resort to social media to highlight the plight of these young girls. I am aware from media reports that 53 of the schoolgirls are reported to have escaped. However, the fact that some three weeks after they were kidnapped, 276 girls are still missing is an outrage, and the Nigerian Government must be compelled, through all available diplomatic channels, to do more to find and rescue these children. It is very disturbing to read of rumours that some of the girls have been sold as brides for a mere €10, and trafficked across Nigeria’s border, and I sincerely hope that these rumours prove to be unfounded.
Do Boko Haram care about Twitter? I doubt very much that they do. Whilst politicians tweeting about the appalling kidnap of these children might seem foolish, I hope that I am at least playing some part in ensuring that these poor schoolgirls are safely returned to their family and friends.”