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Official Denies Nigerian President to Visit Town Where Girls Abducted

  • VOA News
  • Reuters

FILE - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks to the media on the situation in Chibok and the success of the World Economic Forum in Abuja, May 9, 2014.

FILE - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks to the media on the situation in Chibok and the success of the World Economic Forum in Abuja, May 9, 2014.

A Nigerian official is disputing media reports that President Goodluck Jonathan will on Friday visit the northeastern village from where more than 200 schoolgirls were abducted a month ago.

The Reuters news agency and other media reported news of the planned visit which was to be Jonathan's first visit to Chibok village, the epicenter of a growing international effort to rescue the girls

But Mike Omeri, director general of Nigeria’s National Orientation Agency, and Coordinator of National Information Center, told VOA that the news stories are not accurate.

“I am not sure of the report and its sources," he said. "As coordinator of the National Information Center, I don’t have information. Therefore I doubt its authenticity.

"Since this incident started, lots of misinformation has been going on," he said. "We have so many of such stories even in some of our local newspapers that are not true,” Omer saidi.

US criticism

Meanwhile, a top U.S. Defense Department official slammed Nigeria on Thursday for being failing to curb Boko Haram, the group at the center of the abductions.

“In general Nigeria has failed to mount an effective campaign against Boko Haram,” said Alice Friend, the Pentagon's principal director for African Affairs.

Her testimony was provided to the Senate's Africa subcommittee, according to Reuters.

“The Department has been deeply concerned for some time by how much the Government of Nigeria has struggled to keep pace with Boko Haram's growing capabilities,” Friend said.

“More troubling,” she said, was that atrocities have been perpetrated by some security forces during operations against the group, which means U.S. human rights law would bar providing assistance to them.

US assistance

Sixteen U.S. Department of Defense personnel with medical, intelligence, counter-terrorism and communications expertise have been assigned exclusively to the mission of advising Nigerian efforts to recover the girls safely, Friend said.

“Our intent is to support Nigerian-led efforts to recover the girls and help catalyze greater efforts to secure the Nigerian population from the menace of Boko Haram,” Friend said.

She also said the Pentagon and Department of State were developing a “regional response” to Boko Haram to improve border security along Nigeria's frontiers with Chad, Niger and Cameroon. The intention was to detect and respond to movement of Boko Haram members between Nigeria and its neighbors, she said.

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