The All Progressives Congress has condemned the reported conversion to Islam of the Christians among the over 200 schoolgirls who were abducted by the Boko Haram terror group four weeks ago. The party described the development as totally unacceptable and unconstitutional.
This is even as it has postponed its planned National Executive Council meeting earlier scheduled for Tuesday.
According to a statement by the Interim National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, in Abuja Tuesday, the party held an emergency meeting to deliberate on the Boko Haram issue.
The APC described the action of the girls’ abductors in forcing them to make statements against their personal convictions as utterly barbaric.
It reminded the abductors that Nigeria is a secular state and that the country’s constitution recognises the rights of the citizens to any religion of their choice.
“This whole abduction saga has hit at the very soul of our nation. But just when we felt we had all witnessed the worst atrocity by the primitive and brutal group called Boko Haram, we are confronted with a totally repulsive scene of teenage girls, literally with guns to their heads, being forced to say they have converted to Islam.
“This is appalling, distasteful and unacceptable under any circumstance and we condemn it with all the strength we can muster,’’ the APC said.
The party urged the government to critically study the latest video by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau to see what other measures can be added to the ongoing international efforts to find and rescue the girls.
‘’We have consistently said some form of negotiation cannot and should not be ruled out to pry our nation from the grip of these terrorists and ensure the safety and security of our citizens.
‘’In this regard, we consider as prudent the government’s reaction that ‘all options are on the table’ to safely reunite our girls with their families,’’ it said.
Our correspondent learnt that the meeting, which was earlier meant to deliberate on party issues, was converted to an emergency meeting to discuss the Chibok schoolgirls’ abduction considering the mood of the nation.
A party source confided in our correspondent, “We cannot be playing politics at this time, considering the mood of the nation. We had to devote today’s meeting to the Chibok abduction.”
Meanwhile, the Al-Habibiya Islamic Society has condemned the abduction of the schoolgirls.
The group’s Chief Missionary, Sheikh Imam Adeyemi, said in Abuja on Tuesday, that the war against the murderous Boko Haram sect was one that should unite Nigerians irrespective of ethnic, religious or political persuasions.
According to him, many members of the group have been fasting from the day of the abductions without caring whether the girls are Christians or Muslims because they are Nigerians and most importantly, they are human beings.
He said, “In Chibok, from what we have gathered, families have amongst them Muslims and Christians, in some case, born of same parents. From the list of some of the schoolgirls, Christians bear Muslim names.
“We even read that the Amirah of that school that is spiritual leader of Muslim students, was one of those abducted by Boko Haram.
“In our holy Quran (Q17 v 70) that true Muslims refer to, Allah said he has dignified all human creatures, no matter their religion or social status and by this, it is mandatory on all true Muslims to respect all humans.”