Nigerian bishop sees fresh hope about the fate of kidnapped Nigerian school girls
"In northern Nigeria, under the tyranny of culture and religion, it is not uncommon to find girls as young as eight or nine being forced into marriages."
NEW YORK--Commenting on recent video images of the more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped in 2014 Boko Haram, a leading prelate expressed relief that “the girls are still alive,” adding that it “is consoling that they looked healthy.”
Nonetheless, Bishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto, Nigeria—a diocese comprising four states where Catholics are a minority of 400,000 amidst a Muslim population of almost 20 million, and where sharia law is in force—charged that “political intrigues” involving the European and US governments have “relegated the fate of the girls to the chessboard of politics.”
Marking the two-year anniversary of the kidnapping, Bishop Kukah added that: “we must not treat the fate of these girls in isolation or even Boko Haram's strategy of abducting these girls. Our children remain at great risk in Nigeria, but especially girls who are often married off at young ages as reluctant brides.
“In northern Nigeria, under the tyranny of culture and religion, it is not uncommon to find girls as young as eight or nine being forced into marriages. Such practices have paved the way for exploitation by Boko Haram. That’s why it is not enough to send these children to schools but to take additional steps to protect them while they are there.”
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