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Reports of protest leaders being arrested in Nigeria

As agonised parents in Nigeria continue to wait for news of their daughters, abducted three weeks ago by Boko Haram, it is being reported that the First Lady of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan, has made a bizarre intervention, ordering security officials to arrest two women who have been leading protests.

Saratu Angus Ndirpaya from Chibok town, confirmed that State Security Service agents arrested her and protest leader Naomi Mutah Nyadar to an Abuja Police Station. She was immediately released by the police, but Nyadar remains in detention.

Ndirpaya also revealed that the First Lady accused them of making up stories about the abductions.

“She told so many lies, that we just wanted the government of Nigeria to have a bad name, that we did not want to support her husband’s rule,” she told AP in a telephone interview.

Some are asserting that Patience Jonathan claimed that the abductions themselves were fabricated, but that may be a false extrapolation from the report quoted above, particularly given a much publicised recent speech where she becomes highly emotional over the issue. However she presumably had no authority to order the arrests and her actions (assuming the allegations are correct) can only be contributing to the growing frustration at the way the government has handled this crisis.