Catholic Bishop to govt: Don’t succumb to Boko Haram demand

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BY VINCENT UJUMADU

AWKA — THE Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has urged the Federal Government not to succumb to the demand of the dreaded Boko Haram for its detained members to be swapped with the abducted Chibok school girls, arguing that doing so would amount to promotion of criminality, terrorism and rascality.

Speaking in an interview in Awka, the cleric argued that agreeing to the ungodly desire would not only spell doom to the nation, but also influence other disgruntled and ill-informed groups to ask for what was not right before man and God.

He said: “It is not proper to start negotiating with faceless people because we know that they have no right to do what they are doing. Therefore, there is no ground for any negotiation whatsoever.

“They should allow the children to go because they have no business with them. Our stand is that the Federal Government should ignore them and forge ahead with whatever moves they are making to ensure the release of the abducted Chibok school girls.

“Negotiating with Boko Haram will amount to encouraging terrorism because it is obvious they will come up with other antics.”

Ezeokafor said that the church had insisted that as a nation and as people, nobody should have any reason whatsoever to start to dialogue with them, adding that their act was against God and humanity.

He described as barbaric, absurd and condemnable the report that the insurgents were compulsorily converting the abducted girls to Islam, adding that they had no reason to force people to accept the religion they did not want.

He, however, said the Church had resorted to praying to God to touch the hearts of Boko Haram members and those behind them to release the abducted innocent school children.

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