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Letter to Goodluck Jonathan on Nigeria's missing girls

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit's letter to Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, expressing concern over abduction of young women by Boko Haram fighters in Nigeria, urging “swift and peaceful” action to restore these girls back to their homes.

05 May 2014

Dear Mr president,

On behalf of the World Council of Churches, I write to communicate our profound concern and to encourage swift and peaceful resolution of the abduction of reportedly more than 250 young women from the Chibok boarding school in northeast Nigeria.

This tragic situation is devastating not only to the immediate community, but also to all Nigerians praying and working for peace. It touches the World Council of Churches (WCC) directly, as many who have lost their daughters are members of our church families in Nigeria.

Our concern is intensified in the face of increasing global sexual exploitation of girls and women, and the possibility that these abducted students may become victims of just such injustice and violence. Following the rescue of these children for which we pray, the impact of exploitation may require long-term accompaniment of the young women and their families by the Nigerian government, faith communities and local networks of care and support.

The WCC stands ready to assist you, as best we can, in mobilizing the inter-religious and international communities to seek effective and peaceful means towards safely restoring these students to their homes, loved ones and communities.

Two years ago this month, I joined with Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan, chairperson of the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought (RABIIT), in leading a Christian-Muslim delegation to visit Nigeria in response to the inter-communal strife that your country has been experiencing in recent years. Then, as now, we sought ways to prevent lives being lost in the name of religion.

The delegation representing the WCC and RABIIT encouraged Christians and Muslims in Nigeria to continue acting together for the sake of justice, peace and reconciliation.

We are in conversation with inter-religious and ecumenical partners, including our member churches in Nigeria and world-wide, seeking advice and offering our solidarity in the immediate crisis of the manipulation of religion for the purposes of violence and discord.

We are committed to explore with you and others of goodwill how we and our partners can be of service to all the people of Nigeria. Please do not hesitate to be in contact with us.

You and the Nigerian people are ever in our thoughts and prayers.

In Christian solidarity,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary