Home News ‘Free Leah Sharibu’ protest hits Kaduna

‘Free Leah Sharibu’ protest hits Kaduna

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Christians in hundreds on Tuesday in Kaduna State raised their voices against the government’s alleged helplessness in rescuing a lone Chibok schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, who is still in Boko Haram’s den since 2018.

Leah and over 100 female schoolmates at the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, in Yobe State, were forcefully taken captive by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents over 10 years ago.

While some were released, Leah who refused to denounce her Christian faith remained in captivity.

At a point, she was said to be married to more than two commanders of the sect which had over the years unleashed terror on Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, and some parts of the northern states. She bore three kids for the commanders.

But on Tuesday, some Christians under the aegis of the Christian Solidarity Worldwide Nigeria in a peaceful protest demanded the immediate release of Leah and other schoolchildren still languishing in terrorist camps across the north

The Christian leaders stormed the ECWA Good News Church, along Narayi High Cost, Chikun Local Government Area of the state, where the peaceful protest was held at about 10.00am

They collectively called on both the Federal and State Governments to secure the community so that Leah Sharibu and others could go to school without necessarily ending up at kidnappers’ dens.

They carried placards while chanting solidarity songs as they laid siege to the church.

Some of the placards carried inscriptions such as “Free Leah Sharibu and other abducted girls now,” “Remember Gonin-Gora 16 kidnapped victims,” “Government secure our community,” and “Rescue the remaining Chibok girls now” as well as “Education is not a crime,” among others.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Christian Solidarity Worldwide Nigeria, Rev. Yunusa Nmadu, speaking shortly after the protest, described it as unfortunate that 10 years after the incident, Sharibu had yet to be rescued.

Nmadu said the protest was organised to commemorate the 21st birthday of Leah Sharibu while in captivity by the dreaded Boko Haram sect.

He called on the Nigerian government under President Bola Tinubu to do the needful in rescuing Sharibu and other abducted schoolgirls still languishing in terrorist dens across the north.

According to him, it is unacceptable that Nigerians are no longer safe in their homes as they are being abducted willingly by bandits from their homes.

He said, “When it started in Chibok, we thought that was the end but it keep reoccurring every now and then 10 years after, many schoolgirls are still in captivity and this morning.

“We have all come out to commemorate the 21st birth of Leah Sharibu who has become the face of this campaign and many other campaigns for safe schoolchildren. We therefore want to wish her a happy birthday even in captivity.

“But then, we also want to entreat the government that they must do the needful. Nigeria is ebbing out. Nigeria is dying. We are almost surrendering to insecurity and bandits, kidnappers and all sorts of evil people in our land. It is time to stop.

“Our children must go to school. We must stay safe in our homes. Our homes are no longer safe. Our roads are no longer safe. Government must come to terms with what is happening in the country and they must save the lives of the populists.

“We voted you in for security but what we get is insecurity. Therefore, we asked and we spoke this time to the President of the country, Bola Tinubu. Please, up your game, and safe lives. People are dying in their hundreds every day. This is unacceptable to us as citizens of this country. Security is our right.

“Therefore, we hope that the government will listen and do the needful. Safe our schools. Safe our girls. It is not a crime to go to school because they have chosen to go to school. It is the responsibility of the government to secure our schools and protect the lives and property of the citizens of this country”.

Also speaking, the Secretary of the Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Emmanuel Okunlola, appealed to the government to protect Nigeria and Nigerians.

According to the CAN’s scribe, Nigeria’s government must rise up and expedite actions to rescue Leah Sharibu and other schoolchildren.

“Nigeria must be protected. Nigeria must be secured. it’s the primary responsibility of the government to protect lives and property.

“Therefore, we called on all state government, the federal government, and the National Security adviser to rise to the occasion, and expedite action on the release of our abducted girls. This is the only thing that will make Nigeria the giant brother of Africa, not in an unsafe environment or unsecured environment. Let the government do the needful so that we can be peaceful in Nigeria,” he said.

The Legal Adviser of the CSW-N, Braimoh Martins alleged that apart from Leah Sharibu, there are well over 400 students in the Boko Haram captivity and in the dens of herdsmen and militia groups across the north.

He said, “We are part of organisations that have been advancing the cause of freedom for all Christians in Nigeria. We work very extensively in all the 19 Northern States as our States of focus because of the increase and the frequent persecution of Christians in Northern Nigeria.

“And by extension, we also do advocacy and stakeholder partnership with other States in Nigeria. And it is very important for us, to see the situation of insecurity in Nigeria, and how our communities are becoming unsafe and porous to banditry attacks and schools have become targets of militia activities, bandit attacks, and kidnappings.

“And today is the 14th day of May 2024 in commemoration of Leah Sharibu who was also among other secondary school girls kidnapped in Dapchi in Yobe State”.

Martins also called on the government at all levels to use their executive powers to rescue those girls from the hands of the abductors and “to free them from the enslavement of banditry and insurgency in Nigeria”.

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