Hillary Clinton faults Nigerian government's handling of search for kidnapped girls
May 7th, 2014
05:59 PM ET
5 months ago

Hillary Clinton faults Nigerian government's handling of search for kidnapped girls

New York (CNN) - The Nigerian government has been "somewhat derelict" in protecting their children, Hillary Clinton said Wednesday as international attention focused on schoolgirls kidnapped by a militant group.

"The seizure of these young women by this radical, extremist group, Boko Haram is abominable, it’s criminal, it’s an act of terrorism and it really merits the fullest response possible, first and foremost from the government of Nigeria," Clinton said, later adding that "the government of Nigeria has been in my view somewhat derelict in its responsibility toward protecting boy and girls, men and women in northern Nigeria over the last years."

During her remarks at a philanthropy event in New York City, Clinton went on to say "the Nigerian government must accept help – particularly intelligence, surveillance and recognizance help – their troops have to be the ones that (are) necessary but they could do a better job if they accept the offers that are being made."

The U.S. government has offered to help in the search for the schoolgirls. Officials have told CNN the Obama administration is sharing intelligence with Nigerian authorities and could provide other assistance, but there is no plan to send U.S. troops. Legislators on Capitol Hill have also called for the United States to do more to help the Nigerian government.

Clinton also blasted wider decisions made by the Nigerian government during the public interview with ABC's Robin Roberts.

"Nigeria has made bad choices, not hard choices" Clinton said, parroting the name of her forthcoming memoir.

"They have squandered their oil wealth, they have allowed corruption to fester and now they are losing control of parts of their territory because they wouldn't make hard choices."

In late April, heavily armed Islamic militants stormed a girl’s dormitory at the Government Girls Secondary School in the Nigerian town of Chibok. Upwards of 270 students were kidnapped and days later, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video statement that he planned to sell them into slavery. More than 50 got away and the remaining are the subject of the search.

The kidnappings quickly gained international attention by using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. The hashtag has been used to update people on the state of the search, but also to criticize the Nigerian government for their handling of the kidnapping.

The Nigerian government has defend its handling of the matter.

The former secretory of state strengthened her criticism of the Nigerian government later in the night at the International Crisis Group's annual award dinner.

"The Nigerian government has failed to confront the threat or to address the underlying challenges," Clinton said of the kidnappings. "Most of all, the government of Nigeria needs to get serious about protecting all of its citizens… and ensuring the every child has the right and opportunity to go to school."

Standing in front of high profile financiers and donors at the opulent Waldorf Astoria, Clinton went on to urge Nigerian citizens to hold their leaders accountable and implored religious leaders, Nigeria's neighbors, the African Union and the international community to continue to stay involved in finding the schoolgirls.

"Every asset and expertise should be brought to bear," Clinton said. "Everyone needs to see this for what it is, it is a gross human rights abuse but it is also part of a continuing struggle within Nigeria and within North Africa."

In addition to addressing the situation in Nigeria, Clinton used much of her speech to discuss her record at state and particularly highlighted her work in opening the government of Burma. Republicans have criticized Clinton for what they say is a lack of notable accomplishments as America's top diplomat.

While Wednesday's comments were Clinton's first statements about the kidnappings, the former first lady has joined in on the social media campaign, too.

Clinton has joined in on the social media campaign, too.

"Access to education is a basic right & an unconscionable reason to target innocent girls. We must stand up to terrorism. #BringBackOurGirls," she tweeted on May 4.

First Lady Michelle Obama also joined in the social media campaign, tweeting out a picture of herself holding a sign that read: “#BringBackOurGirls.”

CNN’s Chelsea Carter and Viad Duthiers contributed to this report.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Terrorism
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    -education is needed in USA–not color.

    May 7, 2014 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. fhc1983reunion

    Isn't this the pot calling the kettle black? Nigeria has squandered their oil profits is comparable to the president, past and present, and our congress squandering our tax dollars to benefit themselves. Corrupt-yes, the US politicians are on their game when it comes to corruption being bought by lobbyists. Laughable!

    May 7, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Well, the U.S. is obviously going to provide no real aid in that effort.

    May 7, 2014 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  4. sam

    Just like you Hillary during the Benghazi attack.

    May 7, 2014 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  5. Adekitan

    With the world's attention drawn to the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria coupled with the kidnap of over 230 of our female school girls, i do welcome and support the assistance of the United States to help secure the release of these girls. Within the confine of this, US should be readily aware that certain powerful people within the corridors of the political terrain in the Nigeria Government is behind this barbaric act. Cleansing needs to start from the government else US involvement might be unproductive.

    May 7, 2014 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    you are part of the people cheap oil

    May 7, 2014 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  7. crystal

    I've been to Nigeria. If you think the government here doesn't do anything, just wait till you see Nigeria. The bad roads here are the good roads there.

    May 7, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. Name. willard

    Kick out of clinton hillary 2016 right

    May 7, 2014 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  9. Fred Lopez

    Hilary Clinton and Obama FAILURE WERE DERELICT for not sending US Troops to help the US Ambassador to Libya.

    May 7, 2014 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  10. Thomas

    She is right !

    Nigeria is so corrupt , oil and big money can't buy law .

    May 7, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  11. are122

    The Nigerian government has been "somewhat derelict" in protecting their children, <~~ Funny Hilary. Just like you and embassies.

    May 7, 2014 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  12. scoobs

    Nigeria has police and a military. They have resources. They are surrounded by countries that can help. Is this the US responsibility? Maybe we are wasting more trillions!

    May 7, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  13. dave

    Thank God! Captain Obvious is here! Shut up and have a cigar Killary

    May 7, 2014 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  14. fireiitup

    Wait a minute, this abuse has been going on since Ms Hillary was Sec of State, what sayest thou?

    May 7, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  15. fireiitup

    wait, is someone trying to say that Hillary Clinton ,the former Secretary of State was not aware of the problem in Nigeria until now?

    May 7, 2014 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  16. Roland

    It is unbecoming of a government and nation that cannot defeat the Taliban and Al Qaida in two major wars in more then 13 years to start faulting another country response to terrorism.Nigeria has nothing to learn from the USA on how to deal with Jihadi terrorism.

    May 7, 2014 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  17. Folllow

    "Somewhat derelict," you know, like the way I along with the White House handled Benghazi.

    May 7, 2014 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  18. Scott

    We have to protect young girls from radical Islamists and Bill and Hilary Clinton.

    May 7, 2014 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  19. freedom

    Hilary has no place to speak on any issues such as this- she demonstrated gross negligence in Benghazi – and then lied about it over the caskets. No credibility. Only disgrace.

    May 7, 2014 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  20. Name Uche Agonsi

    Hillary's staements, to say the least, are overwhelming. For the first time in my over 65 years on earth as a Nigerian, I feel like someone cares for me and my fellow Nigerians genuinely. I thank the world, US, EU, China, and all those good people out there that are making us human.

    May 8, 2014 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  21. Name Uche Agonsi

    In Nigeria its not enough just to be the brilliant student or acquire the best of academic accolades. Its a home of opportunities for only the opportunists.

    May 8, 2014 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  22. geophil9

    Clinton is right.

    Something is SERIOUSLY WRONG in the Nigerian government. It seems some top officials are secretly supporting Boko Haram. This should be the reason behind their WEAK response to a massive problem. International community should pile the pressure.

    May 8, 2014 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  23. Rob

    WAIT. The Benghazi queen should be saying "What Difference does it make.) that was her answer for her incompetence getting 4 Americans killed. But the she is a politician so she seems to feel no guilt for her gutless and worthless time she has spend in government. An as usual shifting attention from herself. Right out of Obama's lying playbook

    May 8, 2014 04:41 am at 4:41 am |