13th May, 2014
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday condemned the reported forced conversion to Islam, of some Chibok schoolgirls abducted by the Boko Haram sect one month ago.
The party’s stance was contained in a statement issued by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, National Publicity Secretary, after an emergency meeting of the party in Abuja.
Boko Haram abducted over 200 schoolgirls from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno on 14 April and international efforts are ongoing to find and rescue the girls.
“It is patently wrong and unconscionable to force any citizen to convert from one religion to another.
“This whole abduction saga has hit at the very soul of our nation.
“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 described the abductors’ action in forcing the girls to make statements against their personal convictions as “totally unacceptable, downright unconstitutional and utterly barbaric”.
It reminded the abductors that Nigeria was a secular state and its constitution recognised the rights of the citizens to any religion of their choice.
The party urged the government to critically study the latest video by Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, to see what other measures could 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.
“This is 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”.