Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan will not be attending this week’s African Union summit, his office has confirmed, even though discussions on terrorist group Boko Haram feature high on the agenda.
Nigeria will be represented by foreign minister Aminu Wali, City Press reported on Thursday.
Jonathan is currently touring Nigeria to campaign ahead of that country’s elections, which are due to take place on 14 February.
Analysts say this is one of the country’s most hotly-contested elections. The big race is between Jonathan, from the People’s Democratic Party, and the newly-formed All-Progressive People’s Congress, with former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari as its presidential candidate.
The elections is one of 19 elections taking place across the African continent this year. It is not clear whether it is one of the 12 elections an AU commissioner said were of concern to the AU, but the Institute for Security Studies has ranked the elections as “high risk” due to the fact that it is highly contested, but also because of the increased Boko Haram attacks and the divide between the Muslim north and Christian south.
Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Wednesday said that South Africa had not deployed any soldiers to help Nigeria.
She threatened to arrest on return South African ex-soldiers who went there to help train Nigerian soldiers to fight back aganst Boko Haram, branding them “mercenaries”.