Chibok Girls: Group wants Sunday, Friday declared National Thanksgiving Day

THE National Inter-Faith and Religious Organisation of Nigeria for Peace (NIRONP) on Saturday called on Christian and Muslim faithful in the country to use this Sunday and coming Friday as National Thanksgiving Day to offer thanksgiving to God for release of the 21 Chibok girls.

The released girls were part of over 200 students abducted from their school by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents about two years ago.

The National Coordinator of the group, Bishop Musa Fomson, made the call in an address he issued Abuja, saying Nigerians should also pray to God to help bring the Boko Haram terrorism and all other forms of insurgency to an end in Nigeria.

Fonsom, who is also the General Overseer of Spring of Life Assembly, while nothing that
more of the girls remained in captivity, pointed out the freedom secured by this first batch had awakened hope in many Nigerians.

He said, “We should pray for God to touch and soften the heart of those holding the remaining girls to also release them unhurt to their families.

“Our belief is that whatever efforts we make as humans; it will make tremendous impact when we commit them to God. We must, thus, unite our faiths in making supplications to God for the safe return of the remaining school girls.

“Our hope is that this development marks the start of national healing. We understand how the collective anguish over the girls’ abduction led to tempers flaring up across various divides. A lot of hurt was felt, not just by the biological parents or guardians of the students but parents across the land.

“The lesson for all of us is that progress was made when we ceased hostility towards each other. A breakthrough came when President Buhari was allowed to focus on delivering on his promise to bring back the girls. Talks that made it possible for the girls to be released held only after the military recorded successes against the terrorists.”

Fomson, however, commended the Federal Government for the care and intervention they were providing for the girls, stressing that the team of medical doctors, psychologists, social workers, trauma experts and other professionals put at their disposal was a testament to the fact that a hololistic approach was being adopted in their case.

“We salute the military and troops that made sacrifices that ensured that Boko Haram terrorists saw the folly of continuing to bear arms against the Nigerian state.

“The degrading of the terrorists’ capabilities was definitely instrumental to their agreeing to seek peace with the release of the girls.

“Our appeal is that the euphoria of this development is not allowed to detract from the reality that there are other girls, children and women in IDPs camps, who must also be rehabilitated. They too have had traumatic experience,” he said.

Speaking further, the national coordinator of NIRONP lauded the efforts and contributions by the wife of Mr President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, who he said had made several interventions at various IDPs Camps.

According to him, she also did not give up on providing succour to Chibok parents, saying her support for the President had helped to achieve the rare feat of freeing the first set of girl.

He said, “We urge her not to relent on her efforts in pushing for the release of others in her capacity as a mother and a woman.”