Protest March Leaders Arrested in Nigeria

[Content Note: Abduction; terrorism; misogyny; abuse.]

Three weeks after 276 Nigerian school girls were abducted, 223 of whom are still missing after some of the girls managed to escape, the Nigerian government has been roundly criticized for its inaction in recovering the girls, held by terrorist organization Boko Haram.

Last week, in an embarrassing demonstration of his administration's lack of urgency, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan established a "fact-finding committee" to "map out strategies to rescue the more than 200 abducted female students of Government Secondary School Chibok in Borno State" and to "liaise with relevant authorities and the parents of the missing students to establish the actual number and identities of girls abducted; interface with the security services and Borno state to ascertain how many of the girls have returned; mobilise the surrounding communities and the general public to support the rescue strategy and operation among other terms of reference."

This colossal insufficiency was met with a protest march, the female organizers of which have been arrested:
Saratu Angus Ndirpaya, from of Chibok where the kidnappings took place, said state security service agents drove her and protest leader Naomi Mutah Nyadar to a police station on Monday after an all-night meeting at the presidential villa in Abuja, the capital.

She said police immediately released her but that Nyadar remains in detention.

...Ndirpaya says First Lady Patience Jonathan accused them of fabricating the abductions.

"She [Jonathan] told so many lies, that we just wanted the government of Nigeria to have a bad name, that we did not want to support her husband's rule," she said in a telephone interview with AP.

Ndirpaya said other women at the meeting cheered and chanted "yes, yes," when the first lady accused them of belonging to Boko Haram, the group accused of kidnapping the girls.

"They said we are Boko Haram, and that Mrs Nyadar is a member of Boko Haram."

She said Nyadar and herself do not have daughters among those abducted, but are supporting the mothers of the kidnapped daughters.
So, while the actual terrorist organization responsible for the kidnapping, who have released 57-minute video claiming responsibility, remain at large and unaccountable, the women who march in protest of that inaction are accused of being members of that organization to discredit their criticism. Awesome.

International governments, including the United States, have offered the Nigerian government assistance in the search and rescue of the missing girls. My strong suspicion is that outside intervention on the ground would not improve these girls' fates, but would put them in even more danger. Instead, I would like to see the US and other countries put enormous pressure on the Nigerian government to take meaningful action. Immediately.

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