ABUJA (AFP) – Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the removal of signs and banners that mimic the social media campaign to release more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls, his spokesman said on Wednesday.
Reuben Abati said the head of state shared the view that the #BringBackGoodluck2015 signs, apparently backing his re-election next year, were “offensive and repugnant”.
“President Jonathan wholly shares the widely expressed view that the signs which were put up without his knowledge or approval are a highly insensitive parody of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag,” he added.
The #BringBackOurGirls campaign on Twitter, backed by ordinary people and celebrities across the world, forced Nigeria’s government to act after Boko Haram snatched the teenagers from the remote northeast town of Chibok in April.
It prompted a series of street protests worldwide and contributed to international help from countries such as the United States, France and Britain to find the girls.
The insurgents are still holding 219 of the girls, despite Nigeria’s military announcing that they know where they are being held and high-tech foreign surveillance and intelligence assistance.
Abati said the posters which have been seen around the capital, Abuja, “appear to make light of the very serious national and global concern for the abducted Chibok girls”.
“The president assures all Nigerians and the international community that his administration remains fully engaged with efforts to rescue the abducted girls and that he will not knowingly promote any actions that will fly in the face of the seriousness of their plight and the anguish of their families.”