Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan meets Chibok parents

Abuja. Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan is meeting for the first time parents of the girls abducted by militant Islamists 100 days ago.

Abuja. Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan is meeting for the first time parents of the girls abducted by militant Islamists 100 days ago.

More than 150 people attended the meeting after the government chartered a plane for them, reports say.

Mr Jonathan has been under pressure to meet the parents after being accused of handing the crisis badly.

Parents pulled out of a meeting with him last week amid accusations they were being used for political reasons.

The parents of 11 of the girls have died since their abduction by the Boko Haram group, the Associated Press news agency reports.

The abduction of the more than 200 schoolgirls sparked global outrage.

Brief prayer

Boko Haram has offered to free the girls in exchange for the release of its fighters and relatives held by the security forces.

The government has rejected this. The US, UK, France, China and Israel have been helping in operations to secure the release of the girls, who are believed to be held in the Sambisa forest, near Nigeria’s border with Cameroon.

The girls were abducted from their boarding school in the north-eastern town of Chibok in Borno state on 14 April.

A total of 177 people - including 51 of the girls who managed to escape Boko Haram’s captivity - met Mr Jonathan in the capital, Abuja, AP reports.

After a brief prayer, the group entered the presidential building for the meeting, the AFP news agency reports.

Ayuba Chibok, who has two nieces among the hostages, told AFP that the government chartered a plane from Yola city in the north-east to fly the group to Abuja.

Mr Jonathan was flanked at the meeting by Senate President David Mark and Kashim Shettima, the governor of Borno. Last week, Mr Jonathan agreed to meet 12 parents and five girls who escaped shortly after being seized by the militants, following a request by Pakistani rights campaigner Malala Yousafzai.

The Chibok community called off the meeting at the last minute, saying it had been organised in a hurry, so there was not time to consult with all the parents.

Mr Jonathan accused the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group of playing politics and derailing the meeting.

#BringBackOurGirls was a global campaign launched on social media to secure the release of the girls.

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