The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) under the leadership of its President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, notes with mixed feelings the recent rescue of two of the abducted Chibok girls. While Amina Ali Nkeke was reported to have been rescued on Wednesday 18th May, 2016, information emerged on Thurday, May 19, 2016 that Serah Lukah was also found. The value of the controversy on whether or not Serah was one of those kidnapped from the school lies only in calculating how many of the kidnapped innocent girls are still in captivity and should be rescued.

The delight about this news is due to the hope it has brought to Nigerians, especially the parents of the Chibok girls, that it is actually possible to rescue the girls who were criminally abducted on April 14, 2014 and that the efforts of the Federal Government on this critical national and international embarrassment have begun to yield results. It is also sad that the 19-year old girl, Amina Ali Nkeke  is now a mother contrary to her will and that of her parents while Serah Lukah would also have been subjected to abuse in captivity.

While rejoicing with the parents of the found girls and Nigerians at large on the success of this important rescue mission, the Council strongly believes that the joy can only be meaningful if all hands are on deck to rescue the remaining girls from the satanic terrorists keeping them in custody. In line with the submission of an African leader who believed that the freedom of his country was meaningless until other African countries were free from colonialism, we aver that the rescue of two out of over 200 girls is still far below expectation despite being a significant step forward.

The Council salutes the rare endurance of the girls’ parents and their strong faith in the power of the Almighty Allah to return their children to them alive after 27 months of pulse-pounding anxiety and sense-numbing uncertainty. To us, the rescue symbolizes the power of Allah and a fulfilment of His promise to answer the prayers of the distressed and traumatized. It is our fervent belief that the remaining girls, with our unceasing prayers and abiding faith in the Almighty, would also be rescued alive by His Divine Grace.

We appreciate the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari in promptly meeting Amina Ali Nkeke and her parents. That presidential action in our opinion is an encouragement to those who worked hard to rescue her and a morale booster to the long-suffering parents of others girls yet to be found. We encourage the President to seek quality advice of professional psychologists on the desirability or otherwise of media exposure of the traumatized victims of  unwarranted violence.

Meanwhile, we call on the Federal Government to intensify efforts in its rescue mission while we implore all the concerned State governments and individuals to cooperate fully with the President in this crucial mission.

We praise the courage and gallantry of the Nigerian military forces in the Joint Task Force and their civilian partners on this significant achievement. The whole world attests to the huge sacrifice being made by the military in frontally confronting the evil perpetrators of the dastardly acts of terror such that peace is now returning to the Northeast region. We insist that no effort should be spared in bringing the remaining girls safely home now that the jinx has been broken that indeed the girls can be found.

Moreover, the Council implores Nigerians not to discriminate against the rescued girls or stigmatize them on account of their unsavoury experience. The girls, as they are being rescued, require public support, sympathy and empathy so that they will be integrated fully among us. We pray that no parents will live to endure the pains that the parents of the girls underwent or/and are still undergoing.    

Given the circumstances in which the innocent girls were kidnapped while writing their secondary school examination, the Council strongly recommends to the Federal Government that all the girls and their undesired children be granted automatic scholarships to the highest possible educational level. This gesture, apart from being a palliative measure, would be an additional strategic blow to the terrorists whose mission was to stop the girls’ education.

Raping or forcing innocent girls into sexual relationship is a clear evidence that the terrorists were/are not on an Islamic mission. We agree totally with Edo Ukpong when he wrote that:

Yet others would glibly pronounce Boko Haram's megalomaniac lunacy as the representation of Islam and proclaim that the religion preaches violence. And many, including supposedly educated people would swallow that nonsense without reason. My question will be, when Joseph Kony, a Catholic and leader of Uganda's Lords Resistance Army abducted 139 schoolgirls in 1996 and forced them into sex slavery, was he, as he actually claimed, indeed guided by biblical injunctions? Did anybody believe he was acting on the tenets of Christian faith? No! People saw the charlatan for what he was/is and accepted the fact that Christianity had nothing to do with his obscene stupidity.

While praying that the Almighty Allah help us in finding the rest of the girls, the Council appreciates all Nigerians for their patience and prayers throughout past two years in support of all efforts aimed at rescuing the girls. We urge all not too relent in their efforts and prayers until the very last of the girls is found and brought back to her parents alive.

May the Almighty Allah keep us and all ours safe from the evils within and around us.

Prof. Is-haq Olanrewaju Oloyede, OFR, FNAL
Secretary-General, NSCIA