Nigerian cardinal: Schoolgirls’ abduction is shameful

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The kidnapping of 300 teenage schoolgirls by the Islamist group Boko Haram has shamed Nigeria, Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan said Wednesday (May 7).
Cardinal John Onaiyekan, pictured in March, 2013.

Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, the archbishop of Abuja, pictured in March 2013. Photo courtesy of Mtande, via Wikimedia Commons


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“We are all ashamed, terribly ashamed,” said Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, the archbishop of Abuja, in an interview aired on Vatican Radio. “The fact that, up until now, we are hearing practically nothing concrete on the issue, I think almost every Nigerian is taken aback. We cannot explain what is happening.” Vatican Radio reported that at least 53 of the girls had escaped from their captors but 276 were still believed to be in captivity. The girls were abducted by heavily armed Muslim militants from a boarding school in the northern town of Chibok three weeks ago, provoking outrage around the world and offers of assistance from the U.S. There were also reports that 11 other girls were kidnapped from a second school Tuesday (May 6). Onaiyekan said the Nigerian people were baffled by the government’s inability to locate the girls. “We know that Boko Haram have no sense of humanity,” he said. “We know that they are killing innocent people. But that they should be able to cart away almost 300 schoolchildren in the northeast of Nigeria without any trace of where these children are really baffles us.” Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau on Monday (May 5) released a video in which he threatened to sell the girls and abduct more children from other schools. 
The extremist group’s murderous rampages against “Western” education and the military’s failure to rescue the kidnapped girls and young women have generated widespread protests in major cities in Nigeria and across the world. “Our president seems to be impotent,” the cardinal said. “We need to see action.” Onaiyekan said that while many schools had closed due to the threat of attack by militants, this most recent incident took place at a school that had temporarily reopened to allow the girls the opportunity to complete their final exams in a secure environment. YS/MG END MCKENNA The post Nigerian cardinal: Schoolgirls’ abduction is shameful appeared first on Religion News Service.

8 Responses to “Nigerian cardinal: Schoolgirls’ abduction is shameful”

  1. Michele Joseph

    I am unable to relate to the idea of everybody in the entire world being victims.
    I feel that it trivializes and makes the whole idea an intellectual construct, so much easier to talk about than act upon.
    These are little girls, young innocent female virgins and I would hope that
    observers could continue to see them as such.
    Otherwise, they become faceless, nameless abstractions.
    Tomorrow I will list their names.
    Maybe tgat will assist in making it real.

    Reply
  2. nick batt

    The Nigerian government, the education system and civilization itself are all victims. Blaming anybody but the scum that carried out this monstrosity is “a version of” blaming the victim.

    Reply
  3. Michele Joseph

    Oh, I beg your pardon.
    I thought the victims are the little girls.
    I saw nothing that suggested otherwise.

    Reply
  4. nick batt

    How about “I think the main problem with Nigeria is they have a very heavy-handed approach to countering Boko Haram,” or “Still, in order to stop the violence in Nigeria the roots of this violence must be addressed. This includes alleviating poverty, formal education for all, and a government which truly serves its constituents. Nigerian citizens have to trust the government and the government has to serve their basic needs as well as provide stability”. The real problem is that Boko Haram is a pack of barbarous thugs. Also please note that former Sec. of State Clinton fought all attempts to designate this group as a terrorist organization. If we’re not ready to defend civilization, it will collapse and we’ll get what we deserve.

    Reply
  5. Michele Joseph

    EXCUOOOOOOSE ME ?
    I did not see a single sentence or even comma from Janice’s comments that implied in any way culpability on the part of the victims.
    Please indicate which sentence you have interpreted to mean such.

    Reply
  6. nick batt

    These comments seem to be another version of “blame the victims.” These thugs are of the same ilk as those who captured the slaves for sale to the Americas in the 1600-1808 height of the slave trade. I don’t suppose anybody would blame the slaves for getting caught. As for me, I say send in Seal Team Six arrange for Boko Haram to meet their 72 virgins.

    Reply
  7. Janice Flahiff

    For anyone interested in some background reading (and this is not complete!)
    here are some links to a few articles I’ve come across

    Here’s Why Nigeria Hasn’t Yet Found Its 300 Missing Girls
    (Think Progress, May 6, 2014)
    http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/05/06/3434288/nigeria-army-boko-haram/
    A quote..
    “I think the main problem with Nigeria is they have a very heavy-handed approach to countering Boko Haram,” Warner told ThinkProgress. The strategy the government is pursuing, Warner said, is lacking in both a political element to address the concerns of those who might support Boko Haram and a dedication to protecting civilians in the areas that they’re occupying. “So as a result, they’re unable to rely on human intelligence because no one wants to talk to the security forces about what’s going on in the area,” Warner said.
    Reports from human rights groups operating in Nigeria bear out Warner’s analysis. Security forces have “allegedly engaged in excessive use of force and other human rights violations, such as burning homes, physical abuse, and extrajudicial killings,” according to a Human Rights Watch report released in 2012. More recently, Amnesty International just this March accused the army of killing some 600 people, mostly former detainees who were rounded up following a Boko Haram attack on army barracks. None of the men killed were given a trial before their death, the international rights group claims.
    Those sort of tactics “alienated the population living in the areas the task force is operating in,”

    ——-
    Also, many believe that poverty, esp in the North is a factor in the growth of Boko Haram.
    The Voice of America published an article in 2012 detailing just how crushing the poverty is in northern Nigeria.
    http://www.voanews.com/content/more-nigerians-slip-into-poverty-particularly-in-north-141069863/181299.html

    Couple this destabilizing poverty with the central government in Nigeria that most Nigerians view as corrupt and one can see how this feeds radical violent groups as Boko Hararm.

    I am all for the FBI and other agencies (including our military) helping out to find these schoolgirls.

    Still, in order to stop the violence in Nigeria the roots of this violence must be addressed. This includes alleviating poverty, formal education for all, and a government which truly serves its constituents. Nigerian citizens have to trust the government and the government has to serve their basic needs as well as provide stability.

    Reply

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