ABUJA – Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban, held meetings Sunday in the Nigerian capital Abuja with some parents of the over 200 girls abducted in northern Nigeria and leaders of a group campaigning for their release.
She is scheduled to meet President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday in the capital, exactly three months after 276 girls were snatched by Boko Haram Islamists from their school in Chibok, northeast Borno State, a member of her entourage said.
The Pakistani activist fighting for girls’ education rights met separately with leaders of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign group and some 15 parents of the girls, along with five who escaped from their captors.
“The situation at Chibok is the same with the situation in Swat where some extremists stopped more than 400 girls from going to school,” Malala told the escapees after listening to their stories.
Swat is her birthplace in Pakistan where she was shot in the head in 2012 on her way from school.
“I believe your voices are more powerful than any other weapon. So believe in yourself and go and continue your journey. Continue learning and you will succeed because we did succeed in our journey. There is peace in Swat. Every girl is going to school.
“The same way, we will be here one day we will see all of you going to school, getting your education,” she added.
The Nigerian government has come under intense international pressure to rescue the 276 girls abducted on April 14.
Fifty-seven of the girls escaped within days of the nighttime raid on the school in Borno State. Local officials have said that 219 are still being held.