Post link 29 June 2014, 22:32
Silence does not indicate inaction - More than 200 school girls remain missing after they were kidnapped by the Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram in April. Following their abduction, activists from all over the world took to social media to protest their disappearance leading some critics to question Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's relative silence. Friday's Washington Post, Mr Jonathan offers his response.

"I have had to remain quiet about the continuing efforts by Nigeria's military, police and investigators to find the girls," he writes. "I am deeply concerned, however, that my silence as we work to accomplish the task at hand is being misused by partisan critics to suggest inaction or even weakness."

Mr Jonathan affirms that the Nigerian government and security services will continue to search for the women until they are found and their perpetrators are punished.

"Since 2010, thousands of people have been killed, injured, abducted or forced by Boko Haram, which seeks to overwhelm the country and impose its ideology on all Nigerians," he writes. "My government is determined to make that impossible. We will not succumb to the will of terrorists".

Co-ordination between states is the key to stopping actions like these abductions in the future, he says.

During the next United Nations General Assembly in September, Mr Jonathan says he plans to push for "a UN-coordinated system for sharing intelligence," as well as inter-country special agencies to tackle terrorism regardless of where attacks occur.

"The abduction of our children cannot be seen as an isolated event," he concludes. "Terrorism knows no borders."

The liberal website ThinkProgress notes that Mr Jonathan's opinion piece appeared in the Washington Post thanks to a new, $1.2m [£0.7m] deal the Nigerian president recently signed with the US public relations firm Levick.

"The use of PR firms to place op-eds and other commentary from world leaders is not a rarity," writes Hayes Brown. "As for the effect that the new PR blitz will actually have on changing the narrative, Africa hands are sceptical."

He quotes an Africa expert, Laura Seay, who says that "people on the ground" in Nigeria are going to read Mr Jonathan's column "and laugh, they're going to not believe it, because it's not reflective of the reality."


You Lie Because You Are Scared