As we all may be aware — barring any miraculous intervention by which our #ChibokGirls would return today — 8 January 2017, will be #Day1000 since schoolgirls of Government Secondary School, Chibok were abducted on 14 April 2014.
Of the 219 who were missing, 24 have returned leaving 195 of our precious daughters in captivity in the hands of terrorists all this while for precisely 1,000 days today.
#BringBackOurGirls therefore wishes all clergy and religious faithful to kindly take out special sessions in their respective places of worship this Sunday 8 January (#Day1000) and Friday 13 January, and in the course of the week to intercede on behalf of our daughters and their understandably distraught families.
While we have held and continue to hold government responsible to fulfill its duty of ensuring the welfare and security of citizens, we have never de-emphasised the importance of our need for the Almighty’s Divine Hand in this matter.
We ask that you kindly consider the following to help guide your prayers:
- Thank God for the 24 Chibok girls who have returned. Pray for their speedy and complete recovery. Pray that the remaining 195 return quickly as 1,000 days in the hands of terrorists is far too long. Pray for their families and friends, bearing in mind that 19 parents have died since this tragedy commenced — most due to trauma and sheer heartbreak over the plight of their daughters. Ask God to strengthen the remaining parents as well as the entire Chibok community.Also, thank God for the thousands who have returned even though they were not reported as missing. The insurgency has separated numerous families. Please pray that every missing person is found and returned to their families. The Almighty is a God of reconciliation.
- The IDP issue in Nigeria is currently one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. Their condition can be improved. Pray that peace and normalcy can be restored, and that they are able to return home to begin a normal life once again. Pray for the wisdom that is necessary for peace to reign.
- Our soldiers are fighting day and night and therefore need divine protection. Their welfare needs to be improved. Pray for their safety and welfare, and for all the supplies they need to be provided. Some have unjustly been sentenced to prison for failing to fight when weapons were not provided for them. Pray that the God who judges fairly will intervene in the matter. Pray for their families, too. Many of our citizens have lost sons, fathers, brothers, uncles, etc. Pray that the widows and orphans of soldiers killed in combat are catered for.
- Corruption and bad governance bedevil our society. Pray that this cancer be removed from the judiciary, the legislature, the executive, military, police, banks, marketplaces, and every sector and crevice of our society.
- Education is under threat in Nigeria. Our children are no longer safe in their schools. The terrorists attacked schools, killed students and burnt schools. Our Chibok girls were themselves abducted in their school. In the past year many children have been kidnapped in their school. Pray against this endangerment of education. Education must continue. All learners must feel safe and comfortable in school.
- The most unsafe and vulnerable person in our society is the girl child. They are open to all forms of abuse, without consequences. Pray that this trend will stop. Pray for the release of Habiba Ishiaku who, at the age of 14 years, was abducted, forcefully ‘married’ and converted to another religion in August 2015 without her parents’ knowledge by the Emir of Katsina and the Katsina Emirate Council, and remains in captivity till date. The government is aware but has not taken any action to return Habiba to her family. God hates oppression of the poor, weak, and vulnerable. Please pray for Habiba. Pray for the hundreds of others we do not know about who suffer rape and other forms of violence and abuse.
- There has been too much bloodshed in our land: from Zaria to Enugu, from Agatu to Plateau, from Zamfara to Onitsha, to Niger, and presently Southern Kaduna. As recently as yesterday, Tsonje was attacked with scores killed and property destroyed, despite the reported deployment of security forces. Most of these are unreported in the media. This week alone, such killings occurred in three local governments in Benue, namely: Okpokwu, Kwande, and Buruku. Innocent people are killed and their property destroyed. Pray that this wickedness is stopped, offenders are brought to book, the bereaved are consoled, and that there will be recompense for all that has been lost – especially, souls.
Our movement has always maintained that our Chibok girls are symbolic of all that is wrong in our society. We see their return as the mark of the beginning of a new era. From 8 – 14 January our movement shall be carrying out daily marches to the State House to drive home these points. We urge you to kindly join us. If unable to, we ask that you kindly pray about the issues raised. Our movement earnestly desires your prayers.
Sesugh Akume is the spokesperson for BringBackOurGirls