Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in Paris last month. (Francois Mori/AP) Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in Paris last month. (Francois Mori/Associated Press)

The No. 1 job of any nation and its leaders is to protect their people from harm. That duty rises exponentially when some of their citizens plead for protection because they have heard that they have been targeted for slaughter. That’s why the latest Boko Haram horror in Nigeria has me asking a simple question: Who’s in charge of the place?

According to the Associated Press, the militant Islamic group murdered more than 200 people in three villages in the northeastern part of the country today. To make matters worse, pleas for military help went unheeded.

A community leader who witnessed the killings on Monday said residents of the Gwoza local government district in Borno state had pleaded for the military to send soldiers to protect the area after they heard that militants were about to attack, but help didn’t arrive. The killings occurred in Danjara, Agapalwa, and Antagara. . . .

The militants arrived in Toyota Hilux pickup trucks — commonly used by the military — and told the civilians they were soldiers “and we are here to protect you all,” the same tactic used by the group when they kidnapped more than 300 girls from a school in the town of Chibok on April 15.

After people gathered in the center on the orders of the militants, “they begin to shout ‘Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar’ on top of their voices, then they begin to fire at the people continuously for a very long time until all that gathered were all dead,” said the witness who didn’t want to be named for fear for his safety.

Boko Haram has been laying waste to parts of Nigeria since 2009. The group’s goal is to turn the clock back in Africa’s most populous nation by creating an Islamic state. The reported slaughter with no resistance from Nigerian military shows the terrorist group is well on its way. Now, try this on for irony. The name of the Nigerian president is Goodluck Jonathan. His people are definitely in need of something more than good luck. Protection from slaughter when asked would be a good start.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj