News / Africa

    Obasanjo: Some Nigerian Schoolgirls May Never Return

    Two Months Later, Kidnapped Nigerian Girls Still Missingi
    X
    Heather Murdock
    June 13, 2014 4:54 PM
    Two months ago, in mid-April, more than 200 girls were kidnapped from their schoolhouse in northeastern Nigeria. Since then, nationwide--even worldwide--protests have demanded their return and countries around the globe have offered to help. But the girls remain missing. For VOA, Heather Murdock reports from Abuja that analysts say the time for ordinary solutions is over.
    Heather Murdock
    Some of the schoolgirls abducted by militant group Boko Haram may never return home, Nigeria's influential former president Olusegun Obasanjo said, in some of the most pessimistic comments yet on their fate from a member of the country's elite.
     
    Obasanjo said President Goodluck Jonathan's administration had taken too long to respond to the April mass abduction. Once Jonathan's mentor and one of his strongest political allies, Obasanjo turned against him last December.
     
    “I believe that some of them will never return. We will still be hearing about them many years from now,” Obasanjo told the BBC's Hausa-language radio service on Thursday, in comments echoed in an interview with Nigeria's Premium Times website.
     
    The warning from Obasanjo, who stepped down in 2007 and nurtured Jonathan's own rise to power, will dismay parents who have now waited 60 days for any news of their daughters, taken from a school in the village of Chibok in northeast Nigeria.
     
    Obasanjo's criticisms underline divisions within his and Jonathan's ruling People's Democratic Party, heightened by the failure of the government and army to rescue the girls and by political jostling ahead of presidential elections due in 2015.
     
    “If you get all of them back, I will consider it a near-miracle ... Do you think they (Boko Haram) will hold all of them together up till now? The logistics for them to do that, holding over 200 girls together, is too much,” Obasanjo said, according to Premium Times.
     
    “If the administration had acted quickly, we could have rescued them,” he said.
     
    Pressure
     
    Boko Haram, which wants to set up an Islamist caliphate in Africa's largest economy, has fought back against an army offensive and killed thousands in bomb and gun attacks, striking as far afield as the central city of Jos and the capital Abuja.
     
    “As these events get reported, it's bringing far more publicity for their (Boko Haram's) cause and it's putting pressure on the Nigerian government,” Martin Roberts, a senior Africa analyst at research firm IHS, told Reuters.
     
    Activists have staged regular street protests demanding that Jonathan step up efforts to free the girls. The president has also faced hostile media coverage and a vociferous global #BringBackOurGirls Twitter campaign.
     
    Jonathan has traded accusations over the failure to crush Boko Haram with the main opposition party, which runs local authorities in the northeastern regions at the heart of the five-year-old revolt.
     
    Obasanjo, twice president and a powerful political godfather, has progressively fallen out with Jonathan. In a letter leaked in December, he said any decision by Jonathan to seek a second term in the 2015 poll would be “morally flawed”.
     
    Jonathan has not confirmed he will run again, but campaign-style posters and banners bearing his image have sprung up around the capital.
     
    His assumed ambition to seek re-election is a thorny issue in religiously mixed Nigeria, where alternating the presidency between the majority Christian south and the mostly Muslim north has been considered an unwritten rule.
     
    Jonathan, a southern Christian, was vice president and came to power when President Umaru Yar'Adua, a northern Muslim, died in May 2010, three years into his first term.
     
    Underlining the growing pressure for more action on Boko Haram, Nigeria's defense ministry said on Thursday it was studying the military tactics used by Sri Lanka to crush the island nation's rebel Tamil Tigers.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: babalola biodun from: Lagos,Nigeria
    June 13, 2014 2:25 PM
    By not returning of the abducted girls will surely have negative effect on 2015 presidential election.This issuse of boko-haram is an international issue and not just only Nigeria or Jonathan case. The insurgent use different name in different countries.

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora