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EXCLUSIVE: Malala speaks to TheCable on Chibok girls, education budget — and her 17th birthday

EXCLUSIVE: Malala speaks to TheCable on Chibok girls, education budget — and her 17th birthday
July 18
07:13 2017
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Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, 20, has been in the vanguard of girl-child education. The Pakistani is in Nigeria, which she considers as a priority country in her advocacy, for this purpose. In this interview with Fredrick Nwabufo, she says the Chibok girls who have been released should be united with their parents. She also says the country must declare a state of emergency on education and that funding on education must be made public. 


TheCable: What was the high-point of your meeting with the acting president today?

Malala: I met the acting president of Nigeria, and the goal of the meeting was to highlight that the government on the local level, on the state and on the national level must be united in the fight for education. It should be the top priority, so I asked him to declare a state of emergency for education. I had three specific asks, one was to increase spending by 300 percent… to triple the current spending… The second was to make all the spending public, and then my third was to implement the child rights act in all states, so they should make sure it happens. These were my three asks from the acting president.

TheCable: Why is Nigeria a priority country in your advocacy for girl-child education?

Malala: I first heard about Nigeria in relation to the Chibok girls’ abduction. When I heard the news I was really disappointed. It broke my heart that these girls were abducted. I also heard that these were not the only girls; girls had been abducted before and after that as well.  So, on my 17th birthday that year I campaigned for the release of the Chibok girls, and I met with the then president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan. It is not just about campaigning and talking to leaders but actually doing work. So, through the Malala Fund we have done projects, and we have supported local NGOs. So, I actually want to work in this country to ensure that all children get education here. It is a top country in terms of children out of school.

I actually want to work in this country to ensure that all children get education here

TheCable: How do you feel now that more than 100 of the Chibok girls have been released?

Malala: Today in the morning I met some of the Chibok girls who have been released. While entering the room I was quite emotional but when I went there I saw smiles on their faces, it made me really happy to see them back to their lives; to be in protection and to have safety. So that made me really happy, but also I think about girls under the abduction of Boko Haram. They need to be released. And I think more needs to be done for these girls so that they can be united with their parents, so that they can continue their education. They should be encouraged and supported from their own community, from the government and from the international community. These girls have been through hard times and we need to stand with them.

Malala Yousafzai 4

“While entering the room I was quite emotional but when I went there I saw smiles on the faces of the Chibok girls, it made me really happy”

TheCable: Do you think the Nigerian government has done well so far in managing the Chibok abduction?

Malala: Based on the report that they have given, it seems that they are doing well. But I think more can be done. In terms of that, I would highlight it is important that the girls are united with their families and then to start their education as other girls are doing. To be here away from their parents is a really difficult time. But to help them integrate back to society is also important. To help them live a normal life.

Malala Yousafzai 2

If I go into politics I might be focused on Pakistan, but I have no plan yet

TheCable: Would go into politics in the future?

If I go into politics I might be focused on Pakistan, but I have no plan yet. My plan is just to be focused on education to make sure that all children around the world, including Nigeria, get education.

TheCable: So you don’t plan to go into politics?

Malala: No, not yet.

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