Jonathan cancels Chibok visit for security reason


President Goodluck Jonathan has called off his planned visit to Chibok, Borno State, where more than 200 schoolgirls were abducted, officials say.

Sources had told the BBC he would stop in Chibok, in the north-east, on his way to a conference in France on the threat from Boko Haram militants. But the visit was called off for security reasons, the officials said.

The BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse in Nigeria says the cancellation of this visit underlines just how fragile the security situation is in the north-east.

Presidential aide, Reuben Abati on his Twitter account said the Chibok visit was not part of the President’s schedule as widely reported.

He described the reports as rumours, wrong and maliciousness to allege that a “non-existent trip has been cancelled.”

“Every trip by the President is usually pre-announced. The Presidency did not at any time announce a trip to Chibok today (Friday). Ignore rumours.”

He explained that the statement issued by his office on Thursday only indicated that the President was scheduled to travel to Paris yesterday.

“It is therefore wrong and malicious to allege that a non-existent trip has been cancelled.”

On Thursday, relatives of the girls called for their unconditional release by Boko Haram but Jonathan is said to have ruled out negotiations over a possible release of prisoners.

UK Africa Minister Mark Simmonds said Jonathan had “made it very clear that there will be no negotiation” at a meeting on Wednesday.

President Jonathan has been criticised for not visiting the town – more than a month after the girls were seized.

The president will travel to Paris to take part in a summit convened by French President Francois Hollande to discuss Boko Haram.

The leaders of Nigeria’s neighbours – Benin, Cameroon, Niger and Chad – are scheduled to attend the summit on Saturday, which will also include representatives from the UK, US and EU.

A statement said delegates at the meeting will “discuss fresh strategies for dealing with the security threat posed by Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in west and Central Africa.”

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