WASHINGTON (AFP) - First Lady Michelle Obama is to speak out against the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by Islamic militants when she gives the weekly presidential address instead of her husband, the White House said on Friday.
White House deputy spokesman Eric Schultz said Michelle Obama would focus on the issue of the mass abductions in an address on Saturday to mark Mother's Day, which falls on Sunday in the United States.
"As the mother of two young daughters, Mrs Obama is taking up the opportunity to express outrage and heartbreak the President and she share over the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian girls of their school," Mr Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force One.
"The First Lady hopes that the courage of these young girls serves as an inspiration ... and a call to action for people around the world to fight to ensure that every girl receives the education that is their birthright." US presidents issue a weekly radio address on a subject of their choosing. A video version is also posted on the White House website each Saturday.
Michelle Obama has often appeared alongside her husband during the addresses, but this will be the first time she has spoken alone.
Earlier this week, she expressed solidarity with the kidnap victims, tweeting a photograph of herself holding a placard bearing the slogan #BringBackOurGirls, the hashtag used as the rallying cry for a viral campaign calling for the schoolgirls' return.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday described the kidnapping by Boko Haram militants as "heartbreaking" and "outrageous" as Washington deployed military experts in the hunt for the children.