Leah Sharibu: Two years in Boko Haram custody, CAN tells Buhari, fulfil your promise
The Christian Association of Nigeria has again called on President Muhammadu Buhari to secure the release of Leah Sharibu and Some other Chibok girls that were abducted by Boko Haram.
February 19 makes it two years since Sharibu have been abducted. Before her abduction several school girls were kidnapped by the insurgents at the government college in Chibok.
Buhari had promised during the electioneering campaign that he would secure the release of the Chibok girls while also assuring that security will be one of his cardinal programmes.
But five years into his government, it seems efforts to release the remaining abducted girls have not yielded fruit. Rather many other people have been abducted by the insurgents.
In statement signed by Evangelist Kwamkur Samuel Vondip, Director, Legal and Public Affairs, CAN, the body noted, “it is two years now since the young Christian girl and unarguably, the face of the Church in the country, Miss Leah Sharibu, was captured by Boko Haram along with other colleagues but she is the only one still languishing in the den of her captors as a captive of faith simply because against the pressure from the terrorists, she would not convert to Islam.
“It is disheartening and painful that the government that freed her colleagues has not deemed it fit to secure her freedom, despite the fact that those in government have children or grandchildren of her age coupled with the fact that her father is a serving Police officer. The same fate is the sad narrative of the Chibok girls’ mass abduction since 2014 after initial freedom of few of them. We commended the government then for securing the freedom of some but since then, the rest have remained in captivity.”
While expressing deep sadness over the continued detention of Sharibu and others, the body said “The unsuccessful efforts to free the prisoner of faith by the Federal Government is highly disturbing, disappointing, depressing and unacceptable. More so that some abductees and persons kidnapped by the terrorists have had their ransoms paid and freed through the efforts of the Federal Government, relevant security agencies and some international Non-Governmental Organisations.”
The body expressed worry about about Miss Leah Sharibu’s maternal condition wondering why government keeps setting ex-Boko Haram terrorists free under de-radicalization, rehabilitation, empowerment of the arrested terrorists by the Federal Government. It described government action as “rather troubling and suspicious”.
It then asked, “What is the guarantee that the freed ex-terrorists would not return to Sambisa forest and pick up their arms against innocent Nigerians?
It noted that media reports have it that a kingpin of the terrorists who was released has found his way back to the bush!
It also expressed its disappointment by the failure of the Federal Government to react to the footage going round that the Turkish government is allegedly funding the terrorists.
CAN then called on government to “please stop releasing those who are responsible for the horrendous killings in the country. It is like urinating on the graves of those they killed as well as a dirty slap on the faces of the bereaved and a way of weakening the morale of security agents in the battle field. Where on earth have they released the captured rebellious soldiers while the war is still raging? Was any armed robber ever released after being caught by the security agents?”
While commiserating with the people and the governments of Adamawa, Borno, Katsina and Zamfara states over very recent attacks on them, CAN wondered why the presidency “would issue warning to armless Katsina communities not to fight back invading murderous bandits who killed and wounded dozens of armless citizens? How does that justify the genuineness of the acclaimed fight against insurgency and banditry? When has self-defense become an offence in the country?
The Christian body recalled that it had once called for the overhaul of the country’s security regretting however that government seems not to be doing anything in that direction.
It however said it would “continuously call on the Federal Government under President Mohammadu Buhari leadership to accept fully that Nigeria is in a precarious situation needing expertise counsel, urgent decisive local and international community’s intervention”.
CAN in the statement said “its leadership should not be seen as enemies of this government for calling on them to make Nigeria safer and free the captives. No attempt should be made to silence the church and its leaders by whatever means. The government should discountenance the praises heaped upon them by sycophants and political jobbers on this unacceptable-security situation and panic in the nation. Rather, they should give us no cause to cry for a violence-free society again by restoring peace to all regions of our nation.”
It then called on “Christians and all well-meaning Nigerians to continue to pray and speak against the continuous killing of Nigerians and the unfounded excuses always given by those in government to explain away the absurd situation. We should not cease praying for the release of all the captives in the bondage of the terrorists, bandits and kidnappers that are believed to be running to several thousands. It is our hope that very soon, the siege over the country will be lifted and all of them will be released to unite with their families in Jesus Name.”