Jonathan cancels trip to Chibok

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IOL pic may12 nigeria goodluck jonathan Reuters Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks to the media on the situation in Chibok. Picture: Afolabi Sotunde

Abuja - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has cancelled his first visit to the village from which more than 200 schoolgirls were abducted by rebels a month ago due to security fears, a senior government source said on Friday.

Jonathan will fly on Friday from the capital Abuja to Paris for a regional summit to discuss the Boko Haram insurgency and wider insecurity and will not now make a stop in the northeastern village of Chibok, said the source.

Jonathan is under pressure to crush the rebels, who have killed thousands in their campaign for an Islamist state, and to free the girls, whose abduction has sparked global outrage.

The Nigerian government has come under criticism for its slow response to the kidnappings.

Jonathan asked France last week to arrange a Paris security summit with neighbours Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin, and officials from the United States, Britain and the European Union to discuss a co-ordinated response.

Nigeria's house of representatives on Thursday approved the president's request for a six-month extension of a state of emergency in three northeastern states where the military is battling Islamist militants.

Jonathan had asked parliament on Tuesday for the extension of emergency rule in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, saying the security situation remain daunting with persistent attacks on civilians and military.

After meeting Nigeria's senior military and security officials, speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said the request was approved by the lower house after a vote.

Northern Senators and the governors of Yobe and Adamawa states have however, oppose the request, arguing that the state of emergency has not been effective since it was declared in May last year and renewed in November.

The Senate, the upper house, is due to debate and vote on Tuesday, Senator Smart Adeyemi told reporters. - Reuters

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