Two Nigerian women have been detained after demanding accountability from their government.
Following the mass abduction of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls, Naomi Mutah was among many Nigerian citizens upset with their governments response. Protest groups amassed throughout the country, pressuring the government to use all of its resources to save the schoolgirls from the hands of their captors. Following orders from the President’s first lady, Mutah was detained shortly thereafter and taken to a police station for processing, activists claim.
Saratu Angus Ndirpaya claims she was also detained by state police after an all night meeting in the presidential palace. Ndirpaya claimed that while she was released, Mutah remained in police custody. The police spokesperson for Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, said she had no information on the accusations but would launch an investigation into the matter.
According to local analysts familiar with Nigeria’s political institutions, First Lady Patience Jonathan is a very powerful political figure though the first lady technically has no powers within the Nigerian constitution to detain a citizen. Her office denied that any arrests had happened.
In a live TV broadcast, the Nigerian President assured his country that he will prevail in rescuing the girls: “Wherever these girls are, we will surely get them out,” he said.
It is widely believed that Boko Haram, a radical militant Islamist group, is to blame for the kidnapping. Boko Haram, translated as “Western Education is Forbidden” in the local language, has been directly attributed as responsible for the deaths of over 2,500 Nigerian citizens in the first few months of 2014 alone. Boko Haram is a close partner with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a terrorist group that seeks to overthrow African governments and impose Islamic states in the region.
“I abducted your girls,” said the leader of Boko Haram. He continued, “By Allah, I will sell them in the marketplace.” According to the Associated Press, the hour-long video started with the Islamic militants shooting rounds of ammunition in the air from their automatic rifles and chanting “Allahu Akhbar” translated in English as “God is great.”