News / Africa

Nigerian Police Retract Apparent Ban on Schoolgirls Protests

Women attend a prayer meeting calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped girls of the government secondary school in Chibok, in Abuja, Nigeria, May 27, 2014.
Women attend a prayer meeting calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped girls of the government secondary school in Chibok, in Abuja, Nigeria, May 27, 2014.
Reuters
— Nigerian police said on Tuesday that protesters were free to march in the capital Abuja, after an uproar over comments by the police commissioner in which he appeared to ban demonstrations over more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by rebels.
 
Joseph Mbu made a statement on Monday in which he appeared to forbid protests on grounds that they could be hijacked by “dangerous elements” who could threaten state security. Protesters said they would challenge the ban in court on Tuesday, and they filed a complaint.
 
But a statement from Police Spokesman Frank Mba on Tuesday said the commissioner had only meant to advise against gatherings because of intelligence that there was “infiltration and hijack of otherwise innocuous and peaceful protests by some criminal elements having links with insurgents”.
 
“The Force has not issued any order banning peaceful assemblies/protests anywhere in Nigeria,” Mba said.
 
“However, ... citizens are strongly advised to reconsider their positions on the issues of rallies and protests in FCT until the existing threats are appropriately neutralised,” he said, referring to the Federal Capital Territory around Abuja.
 
The girls were snatched from the northeastern village of Chibok, near the Cameroon border, on April 14.
 
Much of the anger among protesters, and a #BringBackOurGirls Twitter campaign that helped fuel it, has been directed towards the government for failing to protect the girls. A Reuters investigation showed that there were a number of missteps along the way, including failure to respond to a distress call hours in advance.
 
President Goodluck Jonathan's supporters say the protesters' anger should be directed at Boko Haram, and that constant criticism of the military is misplaced and demoralizing.
 
The girls' plight has shone the international spotlight on a violent 5-year-old battle for an Islamic state by insurgents who have killed thousands since 2009. At least 530 civilians have been killed by the militants since the day of the abduction.
 
U.S. troops are in neighboring Chad on a mission to find them. Britain and France have also offered help.
 
Nigerian authorities argue they face an unenviable dilemma: if they try to free the girls, they risk some getting killed, or if they offer money or a prisoner swap, this would only leave the rebels stronger, endangering more lives in the long run.
 
A reluctance to pursue either strategy has created a stalemate, officials say.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid