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Nigerian Lives Matter to young Londoners

NIGERIAN LIVES MATTER: Demonstrators outside the Nigerian Embassy in central London

ANTI-TERRORISM campaigners were joined by young British Nigerians at a rally in central London urging Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to work harder to combat the threat posed by Boko Haram.

The crowds gathered outside the Nigerian Embassy on Northumberland Avenue, near Charing Cross, chanting ‘Nigerian Lives Matter’ along with cries of ‘We are with you Baga!’ in response to the recent atrocities in the northeastern region.

The previous day, dozens of people were killed and wounded in an attack on the city of Maiduguri. The Nigerian military responded with air strikes and moved tanks and troops to the area.

WARN

The escalating situation has prompted Amnesty International to warn that the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians were “now at grave risk".

The human rights organisation’s Africa director, Netsanet Belay, said: “These ongoing attacks by Boko Haram is significant and grim news. We believe hundreds of thousands of civilians are now at grave risk.

“People in and around Maiduguri need immediate protection. If the military doesn't succeed in stopping Boko Haram's advance they may be trapped with nowhere else to turn.”

Bwalya Newton, co-organiser of the protest group Nigerian Lives Matter, said they wanted to show “solidarity" with those suffering as a result of the terrorist violence.


SOLIDARITY: Protestor

She told the Evening Standard: “It's important for Nigerians here to care. We're in a place of privilege where we're allowed to use our voices to shout loud and to highlight situations and issues which are important to us.

“As Nigerians, we want to have that sense of unity and show solidarity that although we're no longer in Nigeria, the atrocities that are happening there, the terror that's ensuing on innocent lives, is important for us to share.”

According to the 2011 census, the number of Nigeria-born people now living in the UK doubled from 87,000 in 2001 to 191,000. This does not include the number of British Nigerians born in the UK.

Organiser Akinola Davies Jr said: “The diaspora should educate themselves about what is happening in Nigeria and engage in more discourse with each other. We should try to use our privileges to garner international support to demonstrate and pressure the Nigerian government.”

Bisi Alimi, a Nigeria-born activist based in London, told Channel 4 news: “I'm here to speak as a Nigerian to demand that something should be done but also to understand why the Nigerian government has been quite ineffective in targeting Boko Haram and I think this is a bigger question that needs to be answered before the general election next month."

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