Kasim Reed

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Statement on the Kidnapped Nigerian Girls

May 7, 2014

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the more than 200 Nigerian girls kidnapped three weeks ago from the Government Girls Secondary School.

As world leaders gather in Abuja, Nigeria today for the World Economic Forum on Africa, I know they will be focused on solutions to this catastrophe and addressing the complex social, economic, cultural and political forces that led to it.

The militant Islamic group Boko Haram, who has claimed responsibility for the crime, could not be more wrong. Education is not sinful. It’s liberating.

In fact, girls’ education isn’t just individually transformative; it has the power to change nations. Educating today’s girls creates engaged, productive women, healthier communities and less poverty. Studies show that girls who attend school are three times less likely to become HIV-positive. An educated girl, on average, spends 90 percent of her income on her family. She sends her own girls to school and contributes to her community.

I applaud President Obama and world leaders who have offered their support and resources to the Nigerian government and President Goodluck Jonathan in the determined effort to rescue these girls.