The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, on Wednesday in Abuja, led inter-faith national prayers to call for the release of abducted Chibok school girls.
The event, which was jointly anchored by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and the Chief Imam of Abuja National Mosque, Sheikh Musa Mohammed, was attended by thousands of women, religious faithful and school children.
The Minster said the intercession was organised to compliment the efforts of the Federal Government to rescue the abducted girls, following the emerging threats to national security and unity.
She said: “It is pertinent to note that the emerging threats to our national security and unity have motivated this response.
“We strongly believe in the efficacy of prayers to God on behalf of our girls and for the restoration of peace and harmony in our nation.
“The prayer session aims to galvanise national support for peace and security as well as sustain the momentum and continued support for the release of the girls.
“We are also gathering to pray for all men and women in uniform who toil daily and at all times pay the ultimate sacrifice to ensure peace reigns in the country.”
Hajiya Maina decried the terror meted against citizens, adding that the recent abduction of girls is painful and discourages them from going to school.
“We must all denounce the activities of terrorists in our country. Their actions have destabilized our society. They have brutalised our people, many of them women and children.
“Apart from directly traumatising Nigerians, the employment of terror against our citizens particularly the present abduction has inflicted pain on the psyche of our young female folks to the extent that they have become afraid of going to school,” she cried.
She said the present administration was resolute and committed to promoting education, saying it was a tool for national development.
The minister welcomed the present administrations’ safer school initiative, saying security and stability was necessary for any meaningful development
“Security and stability require the integration of all groups in the society which should engage in a process of self-examination leading to common purpose and common action to stamp out terror in our country.
“It is our prayer that the girls will be released early and in good health. This is our collective desire,” Hajiya Maina added.
The minister said there is the need for Nigerians to pray to encourage the Goodluck Jonathan administration to remain steadfast in its efforts to restore peace to the country.
Oritsejafor, who was represented by the Chairman of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter of CAN, Pastor Isreal Akanji, said: “The Boko Haram members can lock up everywhere but they cannot stop God from entering the girls. Even without knowing what is happening, God will bring them out.
“The light will shine upon Nigeria; the light of God will prevail upon darkness and the power of God will come down and intercede on behalf of the girls.” Reading from Hebrews 13: 3 and Acts 12: 5, Oritsejafor said the case of the abducted girls would be like the case of Peter, who was released from prison through constant prayers.
The CAN president said a spiritual remote control would work on behalf of the girls as the iron gate would open for them.
He said: “Mothers are praying, sisters are crying. O Lord, we pray: touch their hearts to release our girls in Jesus name.”
Imam Mohammed begged for forgiveness of sins on behalf of Nigerians so that the girls can be released.
The Amirah (women’s leader) of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Alhaja Raliat Akinbobola, prayed Allah to console the parents of the abducted girls.