We Didn’t Snub Jonathan, Chibok Parents Insist

President Jonathan 2

Parents of the schoolgirls abducted by militant Islamists at the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, have denied playing politics by refusing to meet President Goodluck Jonathan.

Tuesday’s meeting failed to take place because proper protocol had not been followed, their spokesman said.

Jonathan said the parents had called off the meeting after being manipulated by the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group.

Boko Haram captured more than 200 girls in the town of Chibok on April 14.

Jonathan was widely criticised for failing to meet distraught parents and not doing enough to rescue the girls.

On Monday, he agreed to meet 12 parents and five girls who escaped shortly after being seized by Boko Haram, following a request by Pakistani rights campaigner Malala Yousafzai.

Chibok community spokesman Dauda Iliya said the proposed meeting had been organised in a hurry, so there was not enough time to consult with all the parents.

Chibok residents were “very traumatised” and people had lost trust in each other, he said.

If a small number of parents suddenly announced they had met the president, they would have a “hard time” from the others, and there might be a “suspicion that money had changed hands”, Iliya said.

The decision had “nothing” to do with the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group, he told BBC Focus on Africa.

“We are in pain. We can’t bear any animosity to the government,” Iliya said