BERKELEY, Calif. --Nigeria's president is making it clear -- a prisoner swap with the extremist group Boko Haram is off the table according to Britain's top government official on Africa.
The international outcry over the kidnapping of more than 270 schoolgirls continues to intensify. On Tuesday, some girls in Panama tweeted a picture showing 270 of them with the question, "Would you notice if we were missing?" They were also holding a sign with the hash tag #BringBackOurGirls" which has been used to bring attention to this issue on social media.
People all over the world have been tweeting about the Nigerian girls. And various efforts are taking place in the Bay Area as well. But at Cal on Tuesday, the Nigerian Students Association went beyond hash tags. "We are here today because 270 girls are being held hostage in Nigeria," a student spoke into bullhorn on Sproul Plaza.
Their country is 7,800 miles away but still, Nigerian students attending Cal felt they too had to call for the release of the kidnapped schoolgirls. "I'm just hoping that our voices will be heard just like the many voices that have been heard on this campus," Ozichi Emeziem said.
The schoolgirls were taken by a group known as Boko Haram -- Islamist militants. They oppose any kind of western education for girls. "Right now, I just finished an exam and just to imagine someone taking me because I am taking an exam, because I'm choosing to get an education," student Iyioluwa Ajayi told ABC7 News.
The Nigerian Students Association had the support of others on campus. "We need to be out here. I am a mother as well and it's not okay. It needs to stop," student Cynthia Leimbach said.
Reagan Lolo is from Haiti. "As a member of this big family which is humankind, I would feel guilty not to join this group of fellow students" he said.
The U.S. has deployed drones to assist in the search. The Nigerian government says it is now willing to talk to Boko Haram, but the Islamic group says it will release the girls in exchange for prisoners.
"Sadly, this is something that is probably going to continue on until our government takes a stance," student Osaki Higgwe said.
"We want to react based on what we know, not what we don't know," said President of the Nigerian Student Association Solomon Nwoche.
The Nigerian students also called for reform within their government.