Leah’s continued captivity moral burden on Buhari – Christian elders

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The National Christian Elders Forum has condemned the continued captivity of a female student of the Government and Science Technical Colleg...


The National Christian Elders Forum has condemned the continued captivity of a female student of the Government and Science Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State, Leah Sharibu, on account of her Christian faith by the Boko Haram sect.


Also, the Arewa Christians and Pastors Association has described Leah as an Ambassador of Jesus Christ in Nigeria and beyond.

The elders in a statement by their chairman, Solomon Asemota (SAN), obtained by THE PUNCH on Sunday, also threatened to mobilise Nigerians to embark on civil disobedience if President Muhammadu Buhari failed to put in place corrective measures that would stabilise the country and stop the murder of citizens by Islamist insurgents and Fulani herdsmen.

Apart from Asemota, other members of NCEF include Gen. T. Y. Danjuma, Prof. Joseph Otubu, Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro, Archbishop Magnus Atilade, Dr. Kate Okpareke, Dr. Ayo Abifarin, Gen. Zamani Lekwot, Elder Moses Ihonde, Elder Nat Okoro and Elder Matthew Owojaiye.

They said, “Nowhere is the unconscionable intolerance and narrow- mindedness of Sharia proponents manifested as in the abduction of innocent children on account of their faith. While the nation is still nursing the wounds of the abduction of the Chibok girls, the Islamists abducted another set of schoolgirls in Dapchi and released over 100 of them who professed Islam as their religion and retained in captivity Leah Sharibu on account of her Christian faith.

 “The 15-year-old, Leah Sharibu, the only girl among the Dapchi girls still in custody of the Islamist terrorists due to her retaining her Christian faith represents Nigeria’s very own Rosa Park.  She is still in detention for proclaiming Christ and she is telling Christians that it is hard to be a follower of Christ; that she should not be alone; that she is suffering like Christ to remind all Christians that Christ suffered for one Church of Christ, so that humanity can have life more abundantly and that Christians in Nigeria should be one in the Spirit of Christ.

“In the circumstance, every Nigerian has a moral duty to pray and press for her release from the promoters of Jihad and intolerance. We insist that there is a moral burden on President Buhari to ensure that Leah Sharibu is delivered from her abductors alive and well.

“The continued abduction of Leah Sharibu, on account of her Christian faith, after all the other girls have been released because they are Muslims, further underscores the grave danger that Sharia ideology poses to the Nigerian state.”

The President of ACIPA, Rev’d. Luke Shehu, during a visit to Leah’s parents in Dapchi on Saturday to assure them of the group’s support said, “Leah Sharibu is an ambassador of Jesus Christ in Nigeria and beyond. The Holy Spirit in her will expose the evil of insecurity in Nigeria. Through Leah, the Holy Spirit will accomplish what He started in her for Yobe, the North-East and beyond.

“Our message and prayers on behalf of the Board of Trustees, grand patrons, patrons and members of the ACIPA is encouragement and comfort from the Holy Spirit who gave Leah the courage not to renounce Christ for freedom from the terrorists. Her courage is a mark and testimony of Christian background and training from both parents,” he said.

Shehu, who led the ECWA Church delegation to the family house in Dapchi, in an interview with newsmen said, “Leah’s mother from Biu in Borno State, received us on behalf of her husband (from Adamawa State). The Sharibu family members were thankful to the ACIPA and all Christians as well as other Nigerians who share in their travails and pains. She also pleaded for the release of Leah her daughter.”

However, the elders noted that since Nigeria belongs to all citizens, it would be the highest act of treachery, betrayal and treason for elected officials to use the instrument of government to promote sectional interests at the cost of the lives of other citizens.

The organisation also demanded the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as the basis of providing healing, reconciliation and forgiveness in Nigeria.

The NCEF, while commending Danjuma for his self-defence call, said “the public statement is finally putting a seal on the long-known conspiracy between the Islamists in the current Federal Administration and Islamist insurgents in the country.”

The NCEF said it had stated repeatedly that it was not possible for three ethnic nationalities (Fulani, Hausa and Kanuri) to imagine that they could impose their religion, culture and political leadership on the remaining 386 ethnic nationalities in the same country.

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