News / Africa

    Families of Kidnapped Girls Refuse to Meet With Nigerian President

    FILE - Activists attend a "Bring Back Our Girls" rally to pressure Nigeria's government to find schoolgirls abducted in April, Lagos, July 5, 2014.
    FILE - Activists attend a "Bring Back Our Girls" rally to pressure Nigeria's government to find schoolgirls abducted in April, Lagos, July 5, 2014.
    Heather Murdock

    President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday promised the Pakistani girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai that he would meet with families of the girls held captive by Boko Haram militants for the past three months.

    The meeting was scheduled for Tuesday in Abuja, but families of the missing girls canceled at the last minute.

    Doyin Okupe, a public affairs assistant to the president, blames Bring Back Our Girls, an activist group that rallies almost every day to demand the girls’ rescue.

    “My priority and responsibility and duty is the safe return of these girls," said a statement released by Jonathan. "Unfortunately, political forces within the Nigerian chapter of Bring Back Our Girls have decided to take this opportunity to play politics with this situation and the grief of the parents of these girls.”

    Accusations leveled

    Okupe accuses Bring Back Our Girls of being in league with opposition politicians seeking to unseat Jonathan in elections next year, echoing government accusations that the organization is playing “shameful and disgusting games.” A government statement also repeated a promise to find the girls and end the Boko Haram insurgency. 

    But activists gathered at a Bring Back Our Girls rally in Abuja say the decision has nothing to do with politics.

    Mia Muna, one of about 20 activists who arrived to chant and hear speeches in the rain, says families of the Chibok girls canceled the meeting on their own, partially due to security concerns.

    She says they were insulted that Malala had to ask the president to see them, rather than having Jonathan make the offer on his own.  

    “We did not even need to tell them not to go," said Muna. "They themselves refused to go because they fear that if they are shown on TV all the time, these Boko Haram will still come after them. That was the fear.”

    Wrong target

    After the rally, Jeff Okoroafor, founder of Opinion Nigeria, an activist group that is part of the Bring Back Our Girls network, says the parents wanted to see the president, but felt it was wrong to visit him in the capital when he has not visited them in their home village, Chibok.

    He blames the government for trying to distract the public from the real issue of the missing girls by going after Bring Back Our Girls.

    “The truth is the government for a very long time has been coming up with a lot of excuses. The government has been coming up with a lot of distractions for the group," he said. "But the world can testify to what we are doing. We are open and that is why we are in an open space. Our conduct has been very civil.”

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    
    by: Felix from: Accra Ghana
    July 16, 2014 6:53 AM
    Well an old man that refuses to think critically and make sure he solves the worries of his children would have just anybody do it for them. Until African leaders see the sense in making sure that they help their people to meet their daily needs in life rather helping some leprechauns sitting far away rape this beloved continent of ours they will have little girls being used by some pig face of a fool sitting somewhere to determine for them what to do and be laughing stocks.

    I was soo ashamed to have heard on BBC that this Malala girl was asking the Nigerian president to sit with the families. What nonsense and am very happy that the mothers of the girls have refused to sit with Jonathan when he accepted what the girl is asking him to do. It makes Nigerian woman look inferior in that this is telling them directly that their leader and husband brother father and uncle who is suppose to sit with them and bare with them in their condition will on do so on the orders of a girl not from Nigeria but from some far off country which in terms of importance Nigeria that prides itself as the Giant of Africa is more than and in actual factthe entire Africa is more important than any other continent on this planet because we carry the whole world on our backs. How stupid of another apology of a minister to have come on air on BBC to ridicule the actions of the women not to meet Jonathan.

    What are we as Africans being made to look like? In the past it was them calling our dear continent a dark now we with our actions are grounding and buttressing such debasing nonsense. So what is this. Today they tell you Alkaeda in in the sahel and all of a sudden sends French invading forces to take over the whole of the Northern Mali and adjoining Sahara which according to recent studies has more than enough under ground water to cater for generations unborn and Stupid African leaders are sitting and watching it roll into effect.
    In Response

    by: Marie from: USA
    July 16, 2014 10:07 AM
    Felix, yours is the most sensible post I have read so far. I too was ashamed that it took a seventeen year old girl from Pakistan to tell the president to meet with the grieving families. Why did he not meet with them before? The families were right to cancel the meeting. They have the guts which the president doesn't have. He is only after his political ambitions. Shame on him!
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    July 16, 2014 8:15 AM
    I understand you completely. Even though Malala's intentions are worthy, the women that are suffering their children should have had their voices heard the loudest, for the whole world, not just Malala's voice. What is horrible is that the world seems to care less about Africa, and the struggles of Africans. Malala is Pakistani, where are the rich and famous African-Americans!!!!! They fought and protested to have their identity as African, not to be called Black Americans anymore. OK. Now they are African-Americans, where are they???

    African-Americans are the richest and most liberated Africans in any part of any nation in the world, even Beyonce was ranked the #1 most powerful woman in the world. Has she come to Nigeria for your little girls? Oprah Winfrey is the richest African woman in the world, she could by an Army!!!! Has she come to Nigeria?? Malala has no connection to Africa, except to be victimized because she is a girl.

    Even when Michael Jackson did charities for Africans, other African-Americans wouldn't help him. Mostly white people. Even in my country, the US, Black people refer to themselves as the "African Community." What community?

    by: jane from: Ghana
    July 16, 2014 6:12 AM
    Everything is in the hand of the Almighty, lets pray for his response to this calamity.
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    July 16, 2014 8:23 PM
    This is the same words spoken by the Jews in Germany while the Nazis were chopping, raping, gassing, and executing them! Why put anything into God's hands, when we can handle these animals ourselves!!!!! This should be put into every Nigerians' hands! Not God's. This should be in all Africans' hands to hunt and destroy this child-molesting disease called Boko Haram!!!

    by: Matthew from: Abuja
    July 16, 2014 5:17 AM
    Their refusal to meet the President who has lost much sleep as a result of this incident only shows that they do not exist which goes further to underscore the speculation that the incident did not really occur but a mere fabrication to make the country ungovernable for President Jonathan. It is rather unfortunate. The soul of the lives this has claimed will endlessly Haunt every body that has in one way or the other fueled these crisis. Mr. President please refuse to be distracted. The Lord is your strength.Long live Nigeria. Nigeria must survive in Jesus name. Amen
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    July 17, 2014 3:00 AM
    Holy smokes, Jesus boy! Have you seriously lost your Christian mind!!!! You pray for the best for Goodluck, but deny the girls were kidnapped. Do all Christians a favor, and denounce Jesus!!!!
    This guy is the perfect example of how religions and politics are destroying humanity! Boko Haram has threstened to kill these girls, or sell them to slavery, if Nigeria takes action against them. But this religious lunatic is denying the girls were ever taken! Hey Matthew, the Devil is laughing hysterically, and Jesus is embarrassed. Thought you should know.
    In Response

    by: Joe from: USA
    July 16, 2014 7:52 AM
    How can you say this could be a fabrication .? 300 moms crying out for their daughters . You need to get Goodluck out of his office and meet the moms to assure them their daughters are coming home unless he and his wife are involved in the abductions

    by: FLOSSY FAVOUR from: LAGOS NIGERIA
    July 16, 2014 4:24 AM
    I just wonder what is wrong with our Jonathan and his spokesman Dr. Okupe. Whether the rallies are politically motivated or the Chibok parents are being influenced not to receive or be received by Jonathan after 93 days and only after Malala's plea to him is inconsequential. The questions are Were these girls kidnapped by Boko Haram 93 days ago? The answer is YES. Have they been found? The answer is NO. Please they should just go and bring back our girls and stop all this nonsense they are talking about. This issue will not go away until those girls are found. Families are in pain and they are talking about hijack by the opposition. Haba! If the so called opposition hijack will spur the government to bring back the girls, all well and good.
    Angry Nigerian

    by: Nikki
    July 16, 2014 4:21 AM
    What do you expect from "the clueless president"? He wants to meet with the families now? After 3 months? And he wants to do it on his own soil, not theirs? Dear Lawd!

    by: Peter from: United States
    July 16, 2014 4:10 AM
    President Jonathan should humble himself and go and see the families of the Kidnapped girls. It was because of the lack of adequate security under his rule that those girls were kidnapped.
    In Response

    by: IG from: Benin
    July 16, 2014 7:56 AM
    @Peter, you are talking nonsense. where is the girls and who is their parents? I grown up in Adamawa state very close to where they are talking about. The speculation is highly wrong no body is missing. Those girls you see was formed so there is not like adequate security. We have all it takes to get this girl out if that is true talk but it is a political. So say what you know.

    by: Abaloku from: Lagos
    July 16, 2014 4:02 AM
    Why didn't he go to the village and visit the parents in the first plcae? He has all the resources at his disposal. He's the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Too Bad!
    He's quest to see the parents of the missing girls on Malala's request show's how dumb he is. Malala please come back and ask him about our Missing $20m, tell him stealing is corruption, tell him the school girls and Nigerians as well need light...

    by: tony savage from: jos- nigeria
    July 16, 2014 1:05 AM
    I wonder if those asking that the president should visit Chibok will be able to sleep if any thing happens to him there.
    In Response

    by: Rita from: Abuja
    July 16, 2014 8:46 AM
    @Sam and Chris Morgan, I doubt you are Nigerians. You think if Jonathan is murdered in the North, the south-south will sit on its thumb and 'siddon look'? I think you guys should google what started the Burundi and First World Wars.
    In Response

    by: sam from: Enugu
    July 16, 2014 7:20 AM
    You are not serious, Who will loose sleep because something happened to him?

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    July 15, 2014 9:35 PM
    Where are the Nigerian commentators? They are all over this VOA site, but never in issues about their own home!!! Where are you, your little girls need you!!!!!!!!!!!
    In Response

    by: chris morgan from: Lagos
    July 16, 2014 7:12 AM
    @ tony savage, am really surprised at your comment. Where do you think from? "if anything happens to him there" Please can you tell us what you are thinking will happen to the president if he decides to visit Chibok . If the president can not visit Chibok on account of fear of his life, then i tell surely that there was a country called Nigeria.
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora