CAN decries forceful conversion of abducted girls to Islam
By Christian Okeke, Collins Nnabuife and Hassan Ibrahim
THE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said by the forceful conversion of Christians among the abducted schoolgirls of Chibok secondary school, Borno State, into Islam, the terrorist group had waged a war against Christianity.
CAN also accused a Nigerian correspondent of the Cable Network News (CNN) for allegedly downplaying the fact the majority of the girls kidnapped were Christians.
National secretary of CAN, Reverend Musa Asake, on Monday, said the purported conversion was unacceptable.
He, therefore, called on the Federal Government and the international community to act fast, adding that the forceful conversion of the girls was a confirmation that the Boko Haram sect had a religious agenda.
CAN rejected demands by Boko Haram for a swap of their detained members as a condition for setting the girls free.
“The Boko Haram members being detained are criminals who commit heinous crimes against humanity and they should face the wrath of the law,” the body said.
Presidential committee commences sitting
The presidential fact-finding committee on the abduction of the schoolgirls, on Monday, interracted with officials of some countries that had pledged supports to help Nigeria rescue the girls.
The interaction, the Nigerian Tribune learnt, lasted for hours and issues within the terms of reference of the committee were covered.
EU supports measures
The Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union (EU), on Monday, met in Brussels and pledged support for the intention of the United Nations (UN) Security Council to consider appropriate measures against Boko Haram.
The EU and its member states offered their support to Nigeria in the resolution of the despicable crime of insurgency ravaging the country.
Nigerian Tribune, which got the resolutions adopted at the meeting, learnt that the union expressed commitment to carry on with its efforts to protect Nigerian citizens and defeat terrorism in all its forms, in full respect of human rights.
You can’t force Chibok girls to be Muslims —Sheik Zakariya
By Hassan Ibrahim -Kaduna
Sheik Zakariya, a Muslim cleric, has told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hausa that Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, who had forced the Christian girls from Chibok to accept the Muslim faith, has violated the teachings of Islam.
He spoke amid lamentation from a father in Chibok, who told the BBC Hausa that he was heartbroken and hypertensive, when he saw the video footage in which their daughters were compelled to adopt the Islamic faith.
“It was the saddest day of my life, only comparable to when I lost my parent,” the father, who spoke under anonymity, had said.
According to the Islamic cleric, who explained that there was no compulsion in the religion of Islam, the Boko Haram members had gone to the extreme by forcing those girls to change their faith, as the religion of Islam only permits a situation, where a non-Muslim willingly accepts the religion of Islam and not by force.
‘Children’s Parliament may boycott Children’s Day celebration’
THE Speaker, Children’s Parliament, Master Idara Thompson, said Nigerian children may boycott this year’s Children’s Day celebration if the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls are not rescued to safety.
Thompson stated this in Uyo at the end of the 2014 national and state children’s parliament retreat.
He decried the deployment of the nation’s security operatives to protect political office holders, their aides and money bags, while children in schools, churches, mosques, and other public places were left unprotected, adding that the development had strained the security and rendered children vulnerable to theft, sexual abuse, forced labour, among others.
“This is the time government must rise up and tell the world that they are capable of protecting children.
“As children, we need protection against child thieves; sexual abuse from teachers, close relatives and friends to our families.
“We also need protection against forced labour from other members of the society.
“We need our voices to be heard. There are certain issues, especially those affecting our lives like health and socioeconomic conditions that we are supposed to be involved.’’
The world should stand against illiteracy, poverty —PDP group
By Taiwo Adisa -Abuja
A pressure group within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), “Coalition 2015,” on Sunday, said the saga of the missing Chibok schoolgirls should compel the world to rise against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism.
The group, in a statement by its Director of Publicity, United States of America (USA) chapter, Dr Matthew Uzukwu, said the tenacity of Boko Haram’s operations in Nigeria should draw the world’s attention to the need to unravel the politicians secretly sponsoring the sect.
The group said its members across the USA and across the globe were solidly behind all efforts aimed at rescuing the Chibok schoolgirls.
“Today, we stand in one accord with all the global world powers as they lend helping hands to President Goodluck Jonathan and the Nigerian government, to help bring our girls back home safely to their parents,” the group stated.
The statement by the group read in part: “President Obama, outraged by the dastardly deed of the Boko Haram, expressed hope that the abduction would be the event which will help to mobilise the international community to finally do something against terrorists who perpetrated the crime.”
Osun govt declares 3-day fasting, prayer
By Oluwole Ige -Osogbo
Osun State government, yesterday declared a 3-day fasting and prayer for the people of the state in its clamour for the release of the abducted female students of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
In a statement issued by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Sunday Akere, the state government appealed to the people to pray for the release of the teenagers.
According to Akere, “this week, Friday, Saturday and next week Sunday have been set aside by the state government for special prayer for the release of the abducted students, adding that the government believed in the efficacy of prayers as a means of securing the release of the girls.
The commissioner said during the fasting and prayer, special prayers would be offered by Christians, Muslims and traditionalists across the state.