Abuja – The Primate of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has advised the Federal Government not to yield to the demands of Boko Haram for the release of the abducted schoolgirls.
He gave the advice on the sideline of a meeting of Chairmen of State Christian Pilgrim Welfare Board (SCPWB) in Abuja on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the sect in its latest public video, is demanding for the release of its captured members in exchange for the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
Okoh, who is also Chairman of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) board, said the condition given by the sect for the release of the abducted schoolgirls was unreasonable.
According to the primate, the captured Boko Haram members are criminals who have killed and maimed many and deserve to face the full wrath of the law.
He stated that since the sect had rejected previous avenues by the government and other stakeholders for dialogue, the Federal Government should not give-in to their latest demands.
According to Okoh, the girls should not be used to negotiate the release of criminals and murderers in detention; the girls must be released unconditionally.
He urged the Federal Government to remain focused on finding the girls, explore all avenues for their release and desist from negotiating with the sect or conceding to their demands.
Okoh expressed optimism that the menace of the insurgency would soon be contained, noting that God would intervene at the appointed time.
He said that human efforts might not effectively arrest the crisis but that the prayers of the majority of Nigerians would help resolve the crisis.
On the partnership between churches and the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) in pilgrimage sponsorship, Okoh said more churches were already cooperating with the commission.
He said that the commission was working towards improving self-sponsorship of pilgrimage in the country.
Earlier, NCPC’s Executive Secretary, Mr John-Kennedy Opara, said the target of the commission for the 2014 pilgrimage was to surpass the 2013 achievements.
He said that the future of Christian pilgrimage in Nigeria was in private sponsorship and urged chairmen of SCPWB to embark on aggressive sensitisation to increase private sponsorship.
Opara said NCPC had evolved better ways to encourage individuals save for pilgrimage, stating that over 3,000 families indicated interest in the family pilgrimage scheduled to start in July.
NAN reports that federal commissioners, board members, chairmen and secretaries of SCPWB attended the meeting, aimed at making strategies for the 2014 operations. (NAN)