The Foundation for African Heritage (FACH), an NGO, has urged the Federal Government not to abort the pregnancies of women rescued by the Nigerian Army from Sambisa forest, who were found pregnant.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Army rescued no fewer than 800 women and children from Sambisa forest in Borno, a notorious Boko Haram den, with 214 of them officially confirmed to be pregnant.
The group’s Public Relations Officer, Mrs Chioma Okonkwo, who made the plea in a statement on Sunday, said that aborting their pregnancies should not be considered a condition for rehabilitating them.
Abortion, it said, is an inhuman act that should be totally condemned.
Prof. Babatunde Osotemehin, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and some foreign NGOs had suggested that the rescued pregnant women be sent to abortion clinics to have their babies aborted.
The statement also urged the Federal Government and other relevant stakeholders to verify and not rely totally on the statistics of UNFPA as to the number of rescued pregnant women and girls.
FACH said that it visited the IDP camps with relief materials and discovered that 43 women were `visibly pregnant.`
It said: “Contrary to earlier reports by the media, both national and international, that put the number of pregnant women rescued from Sambisa Forest at 214, others say the number is 43.
“A group of NGOs – Uduimo Itsueli Foundation, Foundation for African Cultural Heritage (FACH) and Fertility Care Centers of Africa have revealed that only 43 women are visibly pregnant as of May 12.
“In the process of organising our relief efforts to the rescued women and children, we set out to determine the true number 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 them showed visible signs of pregnancy.
“They also refuted the earlier claim which put the number of pregnant women at 214, since pregnancy tests had yet to be carried out on the women.’’
It noted that the rescued victims were in dire need of basic necessities of life such as clothing, food, water and shelter.
The statement continued: “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.
“The victims should be offered a range of safer and morally upright options such as safe refugee and crisis pregnancy centers, pelvic ultrasound to determine the gestational age, i.e. the dates and viability of the pregnancies.’’
It further urged other organisations and philanthropists to support the victims with medical and psycho-social counseling, adoption, provision of relief items and foster home care.