Nigeria president meets kin of schoolgirls held hostage
The much anticipated meeting comes amid reports of a worsening security crisis in the northeast, where Islamists have occupied the town of Damboa and surrounding areas, with the military so far unable to chase them out.
The girls were kidnapped from a secondary school in Chibok in the northeast on April 14 and carted away in a convoy of trucks. Of the 276 girls seized in the nightime raid, 219 are still missing.
Jonathan’s handling of the hostage crisis has been fiercely criticised, including his failure to visit Chibok to console parents whose daughters are among the hostages.
His office tried to organise a meeting in the capital last week with a small group of the affected families, after he was urged to do so by the Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.
Malala, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012, was in Abuja on her 17th birthday to campaign for the girls’ release.
The families balked at the invite, saying that if Jonathan was unwilling to travel to Chibok, he should bring all of the relatives to his office to meet with them as a group.