Search for abducted Nigerian girls mere talk: Archbishop‏
He also faulted a decision by the Nigerian president to allow foreign military strategists and troops into the country

Nigeria's leading Christian leader has dismissed as "more of a talk show" the government's search for schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in the country's northeastern region in mid-April.

"It is over 100 days now that our over 200 children, God's special gifts to humanity have been abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents," Archbishop Emeritus of Lagos Anthony Cardinal Okogie said in a statement to the media.

"Unfortunately, the search for these schoolchildren in captivity is more of a talk show and trading of blames than real action," he said.

On April 14, Boko Haram militants abducted 276 schoolgirls in Borno State's town of Chibok, according to official accounts.

Boko Haram kingpin Abubakar Shekau later claimed responsibility for the abductions, offering to trade the kidnapped girls in return for some of his fighters held by Nigerian authorities.

Okogie, one of Nigeria's most respected priests, faulted a decision by the Nigerian president to allow foreign military strategists and troops into the country.

"The father of this state opened Nigeria to the comity of nations on the pretext of helping to rescue the children from captivity. With this decision, is our country still well-secured?" he queried.

The archbishop's position is in harmony with many Nigerian intellectuals who had warned that allowing western military troops to set feet in the country poses security risks.

Nigeria's presidential spokesman Reuben Abati could not be reached for comments on the archbishop's position.

Okogie also expressed doubts on the president's request for $1 billion foreign loan to fight the insurgency in the northeast.

"Some people are even insinuating that the president's request could be in preparation for the 2015 elections," he said.

"On our part too, we are asking for the concrete explanation and the rationale for this loan at this critical period," added the revered priest.

"Our military personnel need to be well mobilized before emphasizing on the hardware. No hungry and angry military can fight any war," Okogie said.

The Nigerian parliament has gone on recess, and no indication the lawmakers would call off their holiday, ending in September, to consider the president's request.

Northeastern Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states have been under emergency rule since May of last year.

Tens of thousands have died since Boko Haram launched its violent campaign in 2009 following the extrajudicial murder of its leader Mohammed Yusuf in police custody.

The group has also been blamed the destruction of public infrastructure, private businesses and displacement of at least six million Nigerians.

Last Modified: 2014-08-04 16:16:00
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