Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has cancelled his first visit to the home town of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko
militants, his office said on Friday.
“The president has cancelled
his visit to Chibok. It was on his schedule up until this morning,” a
presidential official told AFP, without giving a reason.
of visiting the remote town in northeastern Borno state, Jonathan is now
due to head direct to a security summit in Paris on Saturday to discuss
the Boko Haram threat to regional stability.
and Jonathan in particular have been heavily criticised for their slow
response to the kidnapping on April 14, which saw Islamist militants
snatch 276 girls from their school.
A total of 223 are still
missing and the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, claimed in a video
released this week that some 130 had now converted to Islam.
social media campaign has galvanised international pressure on Nigeria
to mount a rescue operation and the United States, Britain, France and
Israel have all sent teams and equipment to help.
cancellation, reportedly over security concerns in the troubled
northeast, will likely prompt further criticism of the government’s
handling of the crisis.
The United States said on Thursday
condemned Nigeria’s “slow” response to the kidnapping and said resolving
the crisis was not “one of the highest priorities of the US
Debo Adeniran, of the Coalition Against Corrupt
Leaders pressure group, said he was “shocked and disappointed” at the
cancellation of the belate visit — and it sent a troubling message.
as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, he is afraid to visit
Chibok because of security fears, he is simply telling the hapless
people in the northeast that he cannot protect them and they should
resign to their fate,” he said.
“He is also telling the soldiers
fighting Boko Haram elements in the region that they are on their own,”
he added, calling for Jonathan to resign.
The cancellation would hit already low morale of troops fighting the insurgency in the northeast, he added.
the abducted girls, they can now see clearly that the person they call
their president is a misfit, lilly-livered and lacks any moral claim to
leadership. Everybody is disappointed,” he said.