United prayer campaign for abducted girls in Nigeria
Adventists launch united prayer campaign for abducted girls in Nigeria
Global media spotlights violation of human rights, religious freedom; united in prayer for nigeriagirlsMay 27, 2014 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | ANN staff
The Seventh-day Adventist world church today launched a united prayer campaign for the nearly 300 girls who were abducted by a militant group six weeks ago in Northern Nigeria.
Church officials are urging members to use the social media hashtags and slogan unitedinprayer for nigeriagirls to join local Church leaders in Nigeria in praying for the incident, which has captured global media attention.
Bassey Udoh, president of the Adventist Church’s Eastern Nigeria Union Conference, called for Adventists to pray for the girls’ peaceful release, peace of mind for their families, and wisdom for government officials negotiating with their captors.
In an incident that has gained international media coverage, the militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of at least 276 girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok area of Borno State on April 14. Media reports said the girls have forcibly been converted to Islam.
“Boko Haram” translated from the Hausa language means “Western education is a sin.”
“These girls are being denied their right to education, which is what will help them to improve their lives and to be the best they can be,” said Heather-Dawn Small, director of the Adventist world church’s Women’s Ministries department. “The environment they’re living now is one that’s limiting who they are as women.”
Dwayne Leslie, associate director of the Adventist world church’s Public Affairs and Religious liberty department, said that Boko Haram’s recent media attention for the mass kidnapping is part of the group’s ongoing violation of religious freedom in the region.
“This violent sect has been engaged in a long-running and systematic war against Christians and moderate Muslims in northern Nigeria,” Leslie said. I’m deeply saddened by the gross violations of human rights and religious liberty and pray for the safe return of these young girls. It is my prayer that the residents of northern Nigeria will ultimately have their right to freedom of religion fully protected under the law.”
A Church spokesman said members can continue using social media tools for other united prayer efforts.
“The hashtag #unitedinprayer will also be an ongoing way for us to call the Adventist Church to pray for specific issues,” said Garrett Caldwell, the Adventist Church’s associate Communication director for public relations.
—additional reporting by Uzoma Nwosi