Lagos - A Catholic priest, Reverend Gabriel Osu, on Sunday urged the Federal Government to reject abortion as option for rehabilitating pregnant women rescued by the Nigerian Army from Sambisa forest.
Osu, who is the Director of Social Communication at the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, made the appeal in a statement in Lagos.
The Nigerian Army rescued no fewer than 800 women and children from the Sambisa forest in Borno state, with some women confirmed to be pregnant.
"I am aware that they were taken into detention where a thorough screening was carried out on them.
"In the process, it was discovered that many of them were pregnant and some already with babies.
"This is because some of the hostages, we gathered, regrettably, were subjected to forced labour, sexual and psychological abuse as well as sometimes having to fight on the front-line alongside the rebels.
"To my knowledge, no religion encourages abortion, not even the Holy Bible. Since from the time of conception the child’s body is alive, the child’s body must already have its spirit.
"Since no human can provide answers to how the body, soul and spirit are formed, then what right has anyone to want to play God by aborting what cannot be created by man?" he said.
The cleric commended the Nigerian Army for the monumental breakthrough in their war against insurgency.
"While I wish to join other well-meaning Nigerians to commend our military for putting up a very brave fight against the insurgents, my main concern, however, is on the state of the women and children.
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"Only last week, the military said its troops rescued 234 captives, some of whom are pregnant women, as part of assault on rebel stronghold.
He frowned at the call by a group canvassing that the pregnant women should be allowed to abort the unborn babies, considering the circumstances they found themselves.
"This group opines that if the babies are born, they would not only constitute nuisance to the society, but would remain sources of emotional and psychological trauma for the mothers.
"I beg to differ with them. In as much as what has happened does not give one any joy, it is even more grievous to ever consider abortion as an option.
"You do not use another wrong to remedy a bad situation. The pregnant women should be encouraged and nurtured to deliver safely.
"What they are carrying within them are babies, full human beings being formed into maturity. Any attempt to abort them, would be tantamount to committing murder," he said.
Osu urged the Federal Government to address the issue by ensuring that the affected women were counselled psychologically to enable them face the future with optimism.
"When the children are safely delivered, the mothers can then be given the option of nursing the babies with support from the government, and where they refuse, government should take full custody of such children.
"We say no to any form of abortion," he stressed.