Rescued Boko Haram Females: Ngos, Lawyers Reject Abortion Option

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The controversy over the actual number of pregnant females of the 293 rescued from Boko Haram in Sambisa forest recently is far from over. GBUBEMI GOD’S COVENANT SNR reports a conflict of interests between the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) and a coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations among others in the welfare of the rescued women.

 

The Foundation for African Heritage (FACH), a non-governmental coalition of NGOs based in Lagos has described as unconscionable, inhuman and scandalous the suggestion by the United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA) and some foreign NGOs that the rescued pregnant Boko Haram females should be sent to the abortion clinics to have their babies aborted or that abortion be legalised in Nigeria so that the pregnant females should abort their babies.

The group advised against calls to terminate their pregnancies through abortion. Instead, they stressed that they should be offered a range of safer and morally upright options. They listed them to include: safe refugee and crisis pregnancy centers, pelvic ultrasound to determine the gestational age, i.e. the dates and viability of the pregnancies.

According to Dr. Williams, an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, “We must not assume that all these pregnancies, intended or not, are unwanted or are a result of rape.”

 

It would be recalled, Prof. Babatunde Osotemehin, Executive Director, UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), indicated that 214 of the rescued women were pregnant. He made the claim while briefing newsmen in Lagos on the UNFPA’s activities geared towards rehabilitating the rescued women and children.

Meanwhile, the controversy over the exact number of pregnant women and girls among the 293 females rescued by Nigerian troops from Boko Haram in Sambisa Forest last month is still raging.

Part of the coalition of NGOs, including Uduimo Itsueli Foundation (UIF), Foundation for African Cultural Heritage (FACH) and Fertility Care Centers of Africa (FCCA) have revealed that only 43 women are visibly pregnant as of May 12th 2015.

 

In an email forwarded to our Features Desk over the weekend, FACH Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Chioma Okonkwo explained:

“In the process of organising our relief efforts to the rescued women and children, we set out to determine the true numbers and categories of victims we would have to cater for. Consequently, we liaised with the government officials and agencies in custody of the rescued women and children and they revealed only 43 of the rescued women showed visible signs of pregnancy. They also refuted the earlier claim which put the number of pregnant women at 214, since pregnancy tests were yet to be carried out on the women.”

The Foundation for African Heritage (FACH), a non-governmental coalition of NGOs based in Lagos has challenged Prof. Babatunde Osotemehin’s figure of 214 pregnant females, describing it ‘international statistics manipulation’

Reacting to the falsified figure, founding member of FACH, Dr. Nkechi Asogwa said the group have been carefully investigating the statistics issue of pregnant females amongst the rescued people from Boko Haram in Yola camps.

“We have two of our members on ground in Yola and they have confirmed that only 43 of the girls and women are visibly pregnant. Medically, this means that doing abortion at this stage is quite risky.  My colleague there in the camp told me that they have been unable to conduct pregnancy test on the rest because they lack pregnancy test kits. So where did the figure of 214 pregnant women come from?

Another member of the group who resides in Yola revealed that at present, the rescued victims lack the bare necessities of life such as clothing, food, water and shelter. One would think that these should be the immediate concern of any philanthropic group instead of focusing on a campaign for abortion while these victims remain in need.

 

 

Meanwhile, FACH group had last week made a cash donation to the Yola camp where the ladies are kept. Making the cash donation on behalf of the group for the rehabilitation of the girls at the office of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Abuja recently, Mr. Sonnie Ekwowusi, a legal director and representative of FACH, stressed that what the ladies urgently need at this moment is a real healthcare, social welfare and counselling services that would enable them to be effectively reintegrated and re-absorbed in the society so that they would continue living their lives as normal citizens of Nigeria.

“Having experienced unspeakable trauma, dehumanisation and violence in the hands of their Boko Haram captors, it is unreasonable and illogical to subject the girls to a traumatic, violent-wrecking and life-threatening abortion process,” Ekwuowusi said.

He further stated that the FACH members were offering free Maternity and Rehabilitation Homes where the girls could willingly go to safely give birth to their babies and afterwards could give them out for legal adoption if, for any reasons, they do not want to keep them.

While receiving the cash donation on behalf of NEMA, Mr. Bitrus Samuel thanked FACH for its generosity and public-spiritedness. He hoped that other NGOs and organizations In Nigeria would emulate FACH’s example in rehabilitating the Chibok girls and the internally-displaced persons presently housed in a Camp in Abuja.

In addition, Uduimo Itsueli Foundation, Foundation for African Cultural Heritage and Fertility Care Centers of Africa have already sent aid via NEMA, Abuja to these victims.  They will continue working tirelessly with the internally displaced people in Lagos State and the Boko Haram victims in Yola, Adamawa State.

 

Other support groups are offering professional medical and psycho-social counseling, adoption, provision of relief items and foster home care.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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