Nigerian activist and Bring Back Our Girls champion Obiageli Ezekwesili has called on President Obama to do more to help find the girls abducted by Islamist group Boko Haram.
“If he could get Osama bin Laden, he could get our girls,” she said.
Ezekwesili, who was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people in TIME’s annual issue this year, met with Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., and with Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, who runs a school for former child soldiers in Uganda, at the TIME 100 gala in New York City on Tuesday.
“It is time for someone as powerful as Barack Obama to compare the girls of Chibok to his own daughters,” Ezekwesili said. “These girls are a symbol of our own message to girls, that they should be educated, that we would go beyond the call of duty for you.”
She lamented the fact we live in a world where “a child is forced to choose between being alive and being educated.”
Ezekwesili cited some other TIME 100 recipients in her remarks at the gala. “Emma Watson got it right, my father was a he for she,” she said, referencing Watson’s United Nations HeForShe campaign. “Those [kidnapped] girls, their fathers are crying.”
She added, “Who says that out of those 219 girls [there could have been] three Malalas?” (Malala Yousafzai, another recipient, is an activist for women’s education.)
Power said the U.S. was looking at ways to bolster the fight against Boko Haram, which has killed and kidnapped thousands in Nigeria over the past few months. “We’ve been looking at how to throw our weight behind an international force.”
Nyirumbe, who wrote on Ezekwesili for the 2015 TIME 100, said that the meeting between her, Ezekwesili and Power reminded her of “the power of women.”
“I would like to see a lot of people more involved in practical solutions to practical problems,” she said. “Women have got to the point where we can turn the world upside down.”
Ezekwesili shared similar sentiments in her closing remarks. “There’s absolutely nothing that the God I believe in cannot do,” she said. “But the same God has given man and woman the power of choice. Whatever we choose to do, we can accomplish. Let’s choose to bring our girls back, please?”
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