Nigerian Leader Under Global Pressure to Find Girls

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Nigeria's government says it's responding to a worldwide demand to free 276 Nigerian girls. The girls were kidnapped nearly three weeks ago, allegedly as part of a huge trafficking operation.

The leader of Boko Haram, the Muslim terrorist group that abducted the girls from their school in northern Nigeria, is now threatening to sell them for $12.

But it's the country's president, Goodluck Jonathan, that is feeling the heat for the lack of progress in freeing the girls.

"Up until this moment I'm talking, nothing has been done," Martha Yarama Ndirpaya, mother to one of the missing girls, said. "No single security personnel has gone to that bush to look for these girls, as I am talking now.

How big of a problem is the kidnapping of girls in Muslim dominated countries? CBN News' Senior International Correspondent George Thomas answers this and more, on CBN Newswatch, May 5.

Ndirpaya is part of a growing global chorus that is demanding a more intensive effort to help the girls, starting with Nigeria's president.

"Wherever those girls are, we will get them out," Jonathan vowed.

The government has formed a presidential commission, but protest organizers say Jonathan is dragging his feet.

"We believe that today we're on the nineteenth day that these girls have been gone, and the federal government of Nigeria has not rescued one child; the federal government of Nigeria has not provided any information that shows that there's any concise effort on the operations," Hadiza Bala Uzman, a protest organizer, said.

In the United States, protesters gathered from Washington, D.C., to Texas to Wisconsin, in order to raise awareness of the girls' plight.

"It is literally slave trafficking. Twelve dollars - we waste that doing nothing any day in the United States, and these girls... that's all they were worth to this exchange," Milwaukee, Wisconsin, demonstrator Lashandra Vernon said.

Boko Haram has been conducting a holy war for years against Nigeria.

They've used kidnapping, murder, and church bombings in their quest to establish Sharia law in a country with a large Christian population.

In 2012, CBN News found out first-hand about the fear the group instills in the people there.

"I would prefer not to talk about Boko Haram's activities here in Kano," one frightened Nigerian woman told CBN News. "It just makes me very uncomfortable."

"Everybody is afraid," she said. "We are all living in fear."

The families of the kidnapped girls say their president has been more concerned about hosting a world economic conference than helping them.

"We are crying at home. There's nothing like economy," Wadsi Ahmadu, father of missing girl, said. "Economy of what? They should bring the girls back. It is then we will have our rest of mind and support the government in anything they do."

But Jonathan has his own message for President Barack Obama.

"Assist us and send your people physically. Don't just stay there and say there's some element of human rights abuses by our security personnel. No, send us people. You are sending people to other parts of the world," Jonathan said at televised media chat Monday.

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John Waage

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.