By Raphael Ede
Tears and grief marked the Children’s’ Day celebrations in Enugu on Tuesday as thousands of primary and secondary school children wept openly praying for the safety and speedy release of the students of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents.
The children roused the audience at the Michael Okpara Square venue of the event with the passionate words of prayer they voiced while raising their hands towards an imagined direction of Sambisa Forest believed the girls were held and beseeching God to send his angels there to rescue their colleagues.
They also carried placards denouncing the abduction of the school girls and calling for their immediate release and the cessation of harassment of school children and their teachers in the northern part of the country.
Led in the prayers by the state Chairman of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Rev. Godwin Madu, and the state secretary of the Christian Association Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Emeka Ejim, the children emphasised that there was no room for celebrations of this year’s event since their abducted colleagues were still going through the horror of captivity in the custody of the terrorists.
They called on the government to intensify efforts to ensure the quick release of the captives, while finding ways to prevent such occurrences in the future.
Amidst flowing tears, Miss Precious Ede, who prayed on behalf of the children, said: “We did not come here to celebrate; rather we came to express our anguish at the continued plight of our mates in the hands of the Boko Haram people. We came to seek God’s intervention so that they can be freed because just like us, they committed no crime by going to school. We are confident that God will answer us because even as we are praying; we know that His angels are already at work in Sambisa Forest or wherever our mates are being held.”
Presenting the address of President Jonathan on the occasion, Enugu state Governor, Sullivan Chime, denounced the abduction of the school children and the rampant bombings and burning of schools leading to the closure of some schools and colleges in the North-east.