Borno State chapter of CAN says only 32 girls have been reunited with family so far.
The Christians Association of Nigeria, CAN, Borno state chapter, on Sunday announced a three-day prayer and fasting for the immediately release of dozens of secondary school girls still in the captivity of Boko Haram.
At least 129 girls were kidnapped on Monday from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
The Borno State government says 45 of the girls have been reunited with their families having escaped their captors.
The Christian body pleaded with the abductors to consider the plights of the innocent girls and their parents and free them from captivity and pointed out that no religion, including Islam prescribes abduction or killing as a way of worship.
Speaking to journalists in Maiduguri, shortly after the Easter Sunday services, Reverend Titus Pona, the state chairman of CAN, who is also an indigene of Borno state from Chibok local government, said that as against the 45 number of girls announced by government officials to have been released so far, only 34 girls had been reunited with their parents so far. He said his information was directly sourced for the chairman of CAN in Chibok local government who had properly briefed him on Saturday and Sunday morning.
“We are pleading with our brothers and kinsmen in the Jamaatu Ahlil Sunna li Dawati awl Jihad (Boko Haram) to please kindly have sympathy on the innocent children, our daughters, and release them to their family; we all know that no religion prescribes the act of abduction or infliction of pain as a way of devotion. We are calling on them to sheath their arms and pursue their case in dialogue with government so that whatever grudge they have can be sought out once and for all,” the CAN chairman said.
“We have heard of a lot of cases of killings in Gwoza, killings in Askira-Uba, in Damboa, in Hawul and other local governments and even in Yobe and Adamawa state; and most of these killings are attributed to the Jamaatul Ahlil Sunna li Dawati wal Jihad (Boko Haram); we are therefore calling on all Christians in Borno state, in Nigeria and the world at large to fast and pray for three days starting from tomorrow, Monday, so that God will touch the hears of these militants.”
He lamented that there was no sufficient deployment of security men in Chibok town despite the situation.
“We plead government to reinforce the security men in Chibok, because what we have there present are too few and inadequate; that was why when they attacked Chibok, the security men there could not effectively handle the situation – they tried their best but they could have done better if there were enough security personnel there,” Rev. Pona said.
On the number of the abducted girls that had so far gained freedom; Rev Pona said “I was reliably informed by my local CAN chairman in Chibok local government that unto this morning the total number of girls that escaped and were reunited with their families are 34″.
He said he is not disputing the 45 figure government announced on Saturday, but insisted that the number of girls handed over to their parents as at Sunday morning were 34.
He implored on the state government to liaise with the security operatives effectively so that these girls can be released.
He also called on the federal and state government to deploy more security to the villages, which have become the centre of attacks for the insurgents.
“Most of the Christians in Southern Borno, especially those in Gwoza towns have been displaced; and it is fast spreading to other local governments of the Southern Borno state where such attacks were never recorded before”, he said.