According to reports from the Associated Press, The First Lady of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan has ordered the arrest of Protesters demonstrating against the government and demanding that they find the 234 abducted girls kidnapped by Boko Haram almost 4 weeks ago.
More troubling than the fact that the protesters are potentially arrested is the fact that the first Lady has the authority to order an arrest of any individual. Does the office of the First Lady come with that power? It is also worth noting that these protests have been very peaceful and there hasn’t been a violent incident recorded.
Yesterday in a televised media chat, the first lady broke down into tears while discussing security issues surrounding the abductions.
A leader of a protest march for 276 missing schoolgirls said that Nigeria’s First Lady ordered her and another protest leader arrested Monday, expressed doubts there was any kidnapping and accused them of belonging to the Islamic insurgent group blamed for the abductions.
Saratu Angus Ndirpaya of Chibok town said State Security Service agents drove her and protest leader Naomi Mutah Nyadar to a police station 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. The national police spokesman referred a journalist to the spokeswoman for police in Abuja. Reached on the phone, the spokeswoman said she was driving and could not immediately respond.
Ndirpaya says First Lady Patience Jonathan accused them of fabricating the abductions. “She 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 The Associated Press.
She said other women at the meeting cheered and chanted “yes, yes,” when Mrs. Jonathan accused them of belonging to the Boko Haram terrorist network. “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 kidnapped daughters.
The mass abduction and failure to rescue the girls now in a fourth week of captivity is a source of deep embarrassment to Jonathan and his government, which is accused of insensitivity to the girls’ plight and not doing enough to rescue them.