Onaiyekan Lauds FG Over Release of 21 Chibok Girls

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Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan has said that Federal Government was making progress in its fight against Boko Haram with the release of 21 out of the over 200 abducted Chibok girls.

The clergy described the abduction of the girls by the Islamists as a major crime against humanity, urging government to “stop playing hide and seek game”, on fight against the group.

Cardinal Onaiyekan who spoke with reporters yesterday in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, said that “the release of the girls “is worth celebrating. This is because every life is worth celebrating.

“It is almost 900 days that over 200 of our girls were taken away. The whole world has been asking what is happening; 21 out of over 200 is not really a big deal anyway, but for the parents of the 21 can at least to rest their souls that they have found their daughters.”

According to him, “I wouldn’t want us to focus so much on the acts of omission and commission of our government in this matter in such a way as to forget that the main culprits in this whole affair is Boko Haram.

“They were the ones who kidnapped and kept those girls for this long for no just cause. We should not allow the criticisms we have against government to becloud this major crime against humanity which this group of boys has committed.

“Anything Boko Haram is saying on social media or anywhere now, unless they come clean of everything they are just not serious. The onus lies on them to explain what has happened to the over 200 girls that they took away. I don’t think we should be demanding such explanation from our government. We should demand explanation from those who kidnapped these children unjustly.

“The whole thing itself is still a shame on our nation and it is still a greater shame that they are not explaining where others are. Have they died? Or have they thrown them somewhere?

“I am one of those who have always said that if even it takes the release of those criminals to set free the poor innocent girls then we should have allowed those Boko Haram terrorists go since. We should not have waited till now.

“A case like this that has generated interest in Nigeria and abroad, I think government will deal with it in a transparent way and tell the truth about it. That is the least we deserve to know. It is not going to be wise to be telling stories and playing games at this stage. I am hoping that those who are advising government and speaking on its

behalf will realise that this matter has generated so much attention everywhere, if Nigerians are asking questions government should know that out there they are asking even more questions.

“As for the state the innocent girls are now, nobody expected that almost three years in the midst of those circumstances they would come back the same way. I am even surprised that only 18 are mothers, the others are not. If the others have not become mothers does not mean they have not been touched.”