The northern arm of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Wednesday alleged foul play in the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, Borno State, citing, among others, the non-involvement of all daughters of the school principal and all the teachers in the abduction.
It also accused the Borno State Government of conspiracy in the incident. “Where were the daughters of the principal, vice principal and chief security officer (of the school) when the abduction took place?” the Christian body queried.
The umbrella organisation of Christians in the 19 states in the North alleged that given the trend of events since the incident occurred, there must have been a conspiracy between the school authorities and the state government.
According to it, the Borno State Government knows the whereabouts of the missing schoolgirls and should produce them immediately.
In a statement by its Secretary General, Prof. Daniel Babayi, the organisation said it had kept silent since the abduction of the girls because it wanted to conduct its own investigation and be armed with facts before making any statement. Babayi said there were some fundamental questions which required answers on the circumstances surrounding the abduction.
The organisation warned the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, to stop playing politics with the lives of the children and save them, their parents and the entire nation the current trauma.
“The abduction of these girls,” the body said, appeared to be a re-enactment of what “the Christian communities in Northern Nigeria have been suffering for centuries in the hands of the emirs and imams regarding forcible conversion and abduction of Christian girls.
“The governor should provide immediate explanation because we know that some people want to sacrifice these children on the altar of politics. There is a limit to which Christians would tolerate all these abnormalities.
“We suspect a conspiracy among all of these characters, including the governor, commissioner for education, principal and CSO since none of the daughters of the teachers and Principal were abducted; there is more to it.
“We demand an explanation from the governor, commissioner for education, principal and chief security officer (CSO) of the school on what they did and what they did not do that led to the ferrying away of these innocent children who went to sit for an examination for the betterment of their tomorrow.
“How come that the parents of these children have not been able to come out and say anything? Are they saying that these children are orphans and do not have parents? We demand an explanation because from our investigation, parents of these children are facing intimidation and threats from the government of Borno State. That is why they could not come out to speak; but they are nursing their pains in silence.
“We also reject a situation where they will turn our daughters to be sex slaves of these criminals called Boko Haram members. We have it on good authority that some of these children are being raped 15 times a day. Some of these children are being compelled to be wives of these criminals.
“If you want to marry somebody’s daughter, you must seek the consent of her parents and not to ferry under-aged children and perpetrate a lot of havoc on them,” it said.
The group described the abduction as an infringement on the fundamental human rights of these children which must not be allowed to continue. It also urged the Federal Government and the international community to do everything possible to free the children from their captors. The Northern CAN raised the following posers:
*Since the abduction of these girls over two weeks ago, has Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, constituted any panel of investigation with a view to making its report public? *How did the 234 female students disappear from the school into the thin air?
*Why did the Borno State Commissioner for Education, principal, vice principal and chief security officer – all Muslims – ignore the valid advice of WAEC on the security implication of writing exams in the school and the need to have a centre where the children’s lives will be secured? *How did Boko Haram carry over 200 students and their food stolen by these criminals from the school? Was it carried with trailer?
*Why is it that since this issue came up, no single photograph of the abducted children was made public by the school authorities? After all, they were preparing for exams and may have submitted their photographs.
*Where were the daughters of the principal, vice principal and chief security officer when the abduction took place? “We hope that this is not a political gimmick to carry out a political conspiracy against these daughters of Nigerians, future mothers of Nigeria and citizens who want to be leaders of tomorrow.
We have done our investigations, we are begging the international community, we are begging the Federal Government of Nigeria and the press to ask these legitimate questions from the governor, Commissioner for Education, principal and CSO of the school because Chibok is a predominantly Christian area.
“What we are after is the safety and future of these children, whether they are Christians or Muslims or our enemies doesn’t matter. They are Nigerians, first and foremost,” CAN stated.