Relatives of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls who have been missing for more than a month after being kidnapped by Islamic militants have voiced anger and despair after the country’s president canceled a visit to their hometown, citing security concerns.
As the international effort to find and rescue the girls gathered momentum, with military and intelligence resources from the U.S., U.K., France, Israel and Canada pouring into Nigeria, and the #bringbackourgirls social media campaign exceeded a million tweets, there was mounting criticism of President Goodluck Jonathan’s slow response to the crisis.
On Friday in Chibok, the hometown of the missing girls, families said they had lost faith in the government to do everything possible to rescue their daughters, sisters and nieces. In Washington, D.C., a senior U.S. official admonished Nigeria’s failure to tackle the insurgency.
Many relatives had gathered at the Chibok government girls secondary school, from which the teenagers were abducted in a night raid on April 14, to greet Jonathan on his first visit to the area during the crisis.
“You begin to question what could be more important to the president than the lives of these students,” Dr Allen Manasseh, whose 18-year-old sister Maryamu Wavi was abducted from the school, told the Guardian.
“The parents were hoping he would come with some information for them about where the girls may be and what efforts are being done to recover them, but instead to be told he is not coming was not easy for them. It’s not an easy thing to have a missing child.”
He said the families were upset that it had taken more than a month for Jonathan to schedule a visit to Chibok, but that he promised to come and then postponed without adequate explanation has further diminished their faith in the authorities.
Bulus Mungo Park, a civil servant volunteering with a local vigilante force protecting Chibok from Boko Haram and the uncle of two missing girls, said the villagers were extremely disappointed.
“The parents were happy that our president would come and see for himself. He was our last resort,” he said. “And now we don’t know what is happening. We’re hoping he can still come some time.”
Read the full story at theguardian.com