04/05/2014 11:09 BST | Updated 04/05/2014 11:59 BST

Nigeria Schoolgirls Abduction: Ex-Minister Andrew Mitchell 'Astonished' At Lack Of Coverage Compared With MH370

Former international development secretary and chief whip Andrew Mitchell has said he is "astonished" media coverage of missing airliner MH370 is so much more extensive than the fate of more than 200 missing schoolgirls in Nigeria.

Mitchell said the children were the future of Nigeria and the kidnapping was an "assault on all our values".

Militants of Boko Haram - the name means "Western education is sinful" - are holding some 276 teenage girls abducted from a northeastern school on April 15.


The girls were abducted on April 16

The abduction has received very little coverage in the western media.

In contrast, the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared in March with 239 aboard, has received wall-to-wall coverage of every minor development in the search and theory as to why it has disappeared.

Speaking on the Sky News Murnaghan programme, Mitchell, who resigned as chief whip over the Plebgate scandal, said: "I think it is a very good contrast. Every day, quite rightly, we have seen the coverage on the hunt to find out what happened to the plane and find out what happened in this awful tragedy for the people who died on the plane.

"Britain has been part of that search with ships and submarines and so on, and that's absolutely right.

"This is a very similar number of people and they are the future of Nigeria. This is an assault on all of our values, this kidnapping of so many young girls on the threshold of making a real contribution to Nigerian life.

"Frankly, I am astonished the international press, the international media haven't taken a far greater interest in this awful event than they have."

It took the regional governor eight days to visit the village from which the girls disappeared.

Parents of the girls, mostly Christians, raised money themselves from the local community to search the Sambisa forest where the pupils were purportedly held.