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Christie Excoriated by Nigerian Activists for ‘Flippant’ #BringBackOurGirls Remarks at RNC

July 24, 2016

BY BRIDGET JOHNSON*

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses delegates at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18, 2016. (Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa via AP Imag

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses delegates at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18, 2016. (Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa via AP Imag

Nigerian activists for the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram ripped New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for what the co-founder of the hashtag campaign called the governor “indecently” citing the girls’ case in his Republican National Convention speech.

During his list of charges against Hillary Clinton, Christie told the convention that the former secretary of State “amazingly fought for two years to keep an al-Qaeda affiliate off of the terrorist watch list.” Boko Haram was affiliated with al-Qaeda but switched allegiance to ISIS in March 2015.

“Now, what happens because of this reckless action by the candidate who is the self-proclaimed champion of women all around the world? These al-Qaeda terrorists abducted hundreds of innocent young women two years ago. These schoolgirls are still missing today. And what was the solution from the Obama-Clinton team? A hashtag campaign,” Christie said.

“So, now let’s figure it out. Let’s decide. Hillary Clinton, as an apologist for an al-Qaeda affiliate in Nigeria, resulting in the capture of innocent young women, is she guilty or not guilty?”

The 276 girls were abducted from the Government Secondary School in April 2014, when John Kerry was secretary of State. The #BringBackOurGirls campaign was created and promoted by Nigerian activists and the families of the kidnapped girls to keep attention on the case.

The White House briefly participated in the campaign, including first lady Michelle Obama posting a photo of herself holding a placard with the hashtag. Few in Washington have continued the campaign. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) continues to tweet a #BringBackOurGirls message every day.

Obiageli Ezekwesili, Nigeria’s former education minister and former vice president of the World Bank’s Africa division, was one of the activists who originally launched the hashtag that would go viral.

She tweeted at Christie after his speech, using the number of Chibok girls still missing:

.@ChrisChristie It was insensitive & lowly that you- a father of 2 daughters- indecently politicked with OUR 218 abducted. 😡

.@ChrisChristie The absolute lack of character you displayed last night dragging OUR for your political gain is appalling, Sir.

.@ChrisChristie Today is 828 DAYS since abduction&NOT ONCE until you politicked with OUR 218 did YOU speak up for them. SHAME😠

.@ChrisChristie If you have any decency left, I advise you to immediately publicly apologize to HEARTBROKEN parents of OUR 218 .

Another founder of the #BringBackOurGirls movement in Nigeria similarly went after Christie:

You have 2 daughters and yet you can’t empathise with people’s daughters missing? @GovChristie you went too far! NOW

That you are a politician @GovChristie doesn’t mean that you have to negotiate your values away or sell your soul

Mr @GovChristie the hashtag campaign has been ongoing for 813 days. What did you do? What did you stand for? NOW & ALIVE

Mr @GovChristie that hashtag campaign u used flippantly for political gain has bn powered by people who refused to give up on

For @GovChristie to use for political scores is indeed the lowest of the lows and should be condemned.

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