Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Missing girls: Nigeria took too long to act, says US

17 May 2014, 09:06

Washington - A top US defence department official on Thursday said Nigeria had been too slow to respond to the threat of Boko Haram but Washington is committed to helping fight the Islamist militants and rescue over 200 girls seized from their school a month ago.

US officials have said the effort to retrieve the girls is now a top priority but has been complicated by Nigeria's early reluctance to accept assistance, and US rules banning aid to foreign forces that have committed human rights abuses.

"In general Nigeria has failed to mount an effective campaign against Boko Haram," Alice Friend, the Pentagon's principal director for African Affairs, told a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Africa subcommittee.

Nigeria's approach

"The department has been deeply concerned for some time by how much the Government of Nigeria has struggled to keep pace with Boko Haram's growing capabilities," Friend said.

Friend said it was troubling that atrocities have been perpetrated by some Nigerian forces during operations against Boko Haram.

Robert Jackson, acting assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, said Washington has urged Nigeria to reform its approach to the group. "When soldiers destroy towns, kill civilians and detain innocent people with impunity, mistrust takes root," he said.

Regional threat

The US Embassy in Abuja offered help almost immediately after the kidnapping. But it was two weeks before US Secretary of State John Kerry called Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to offer aid, which was accepted on 4 May, Jackson said. Friend said US reconnaissance flights started days later.


Nigeria has been reluctant to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist threat at the United Nations, but Jackson said it has changed its position and he expected that designation imminently.

Delaware Senator Chris Coons, the subcommittee chairperson, said that the odds the girls would get home safely were diminishing every day.

"It took too long for the Nigerian government to respond to the girls' abduction. It took too long for the Nigerian government to accept offers of assistance from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and China, and once accepted, it took too long for that assistance to be fully implemented," he said.

Abubaka Shekau

The US officials said Boko Haram is a regional threat that is becoming international, with ties to al Qaeda. They said the Pentagon and Department of State were developing a "regional response," including improved security along Nigeria's borders with Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

"We've definitely determined that there are links between al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb and Boko Haram. They have probably provided at least training, perhaps financial support," Jackson said.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...