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Chibok girls: Anglican Church, Bello hail Buhari, Fayose disagrees

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Ogundele Kamarudeen, Success Nwogu and Gbenga Odogun

The Church of  Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State have hailed President Muhammadu Buhari and security agents for securing the release of another round of 82 Chibok girls abducted by the Boko Haram sect, saying the President is fulfilling his promises to Nigerians.

However, the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has described the report of the girls’ release as a plot by the Presidency to divert attention away from the health status of President Buhari.

Bello, while fielding questions from journalists, in Lokoja, on Monday, said the release of the girls would ‘restore emotional sanity’ to the parents of the abducted girls, who had been traumatised by the unfortunate experience of having to live without their daughters for three years.

Bello said the release of the 82 girls had raised the hope that the remaining girls would one day be reunited with their families.

“President Buhari has, through this massive progress in securing the release of (some of) the abducted girls, given hope that the remaining girls who are still with the abductors will one day be reunited with their families.

“Let me also use this opportunity to commend our security agents who rose gallantly to defend the integrity of our dear nation; the international community who showed concern over the unfortunate incident and demonstrated that ‘harm to one is harm to all’ and all advocates who toiled day and night to bring the abduction to the attention of the international community.”

The governor congratulated the parents of the released girls, saying efforts would be made at all levels to give the girls ‘the life they dreamt of having by daring to be educated’, adding that Nigeria would rise from its current challenges to become a powerful force in the comity of nations.

The Bishop of the Diocese of Ofa, Rt. Rev. Akintunde Popoola, who spoke on behalf of the Anglican Church in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Monday, noted that the release of the 82 girls was a positive development.

He urged the Federal Government not to relent in efforts towards ensuring the release of the remaining Chibok girls who were still in Boko Haram captivity.

Popoola added that the release of the 82 Chibok girls and the previously released ones had boosted the rating of the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government under Buhari.

He called on the Boko Haram prisoners that were swapped for the girls to have a change of heart and avoid wreaking havoc on the society.

But Fayose said it had become the pastime of the Buhari’s Presidency to ‘resort to selling cheap dummies to distract the people and obfuscate the issue at hand’, whenever it was under fire for underperforming or had serious issues it could not sufficiently explain to the people.

Fayose stated this in a press statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, in Ado Ekiti, on Sunday.

“Right now, a matter of urgent national importance arresting the attention of all and sundry is that of the President’s health. While I continue to pray, in conjunction with other Nigerians, for the President’s quick recovery, I condemn without equivocation this shameless playing on the intelligence and psyche of Nigerians by taking undue advantage of the vexed issue of the so-called Chibok girls.

“It has become the style of this government to distract attention but the truth will be told some day. Which Chibok girls are they talking about? Chibok girls who purportedly were sitting Physics WAEC examinations but cannot speak simple English? Chibok girls who were shielded from the media? Till today, the media have not been allowed access to the so-called Chibok girls.

“What is not missing cannot be found. Despite the strenuous efforts at a cover-up, discerning Nigerians understand that the stories do not add up. When is the next batch of Chibok girls coming? When is the next make-belief? When there is the need for another cover-up, distraction and diversion of the people’s attention and focus, they will fly their usual kite and sell the same jaded dummy,” he added.

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