President Goodluck Jonathan met through the night with security, school and state officials and issued a new directive that “everything must be done” to free the 276 girls held captive by Islamic extremists, one of his advisers said yesterday.
It was the first time the President met with all stakeholders, including the principal of the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in northeastern Nigeria where the girls and young women were kidnapped in a pre-dawn raid April 15, presidential adviser Reuben Abati told reporters.
Nigerians’ outrage at the failure to rescue the students and protest marches last week in major Nigerian cities as well as New York City, in the USA, have spurred to action Jonathan’s government, which many see as uncaring of the girls’ plight.
“The president has given very clear directives that everything must be done to ensure that these girls must be brought back to safety,” Abati said.
The police last week said that the actual number abducted had risen to more than 300 and that 276 remain in captivity. It said 53 of the students managed to escape their captors. None have been rescued by the military which initially said it was in hot pursuit of the abductors.
Some of the girls been forced into “marriage” with their abductors and paid a nominal bride price of $12 (N2, 000), according to a senator from the area, whose report is unverified.
Some of the young women have been taken across Nigeria’s borders to Cameroon and Chad, the parents said last week quoting villagers.
Anguished parents in Chibok town, who have lost confidence in the government and military, have been begging for international help.
The United States and Britain have promised unspecified help. Both countries help with counter-terrorism training and could provide satellite images that might help the search. (AP)