The Christian Association of Nigeria held a church service on Wednesday and a peaceful march to mark Miss. Leah Sharibu in Boko Haram’s captivity.
CAN President Rev. Samson Ayokunle and senior pastor at Dunamis International Gospel Center, Dr. Paul Enenche, in Abuja warned that murders in the country could lead to anarchy.
Leah, along with more than 100 girls, were forcibly kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents from her hostel at the Government’s Girls’ Technical Faculty of Science, Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19, 2018. Although her companions were later released, she was prevented by refusing to renounce her Christian faith. In late January, there were reports that she had given birth to a boy.
The Yobe Christians, who left in large numbers, prayed to God for the girl’s release and later made a peaceful protest from the EWCA Church to the Catholic Church of Santa Maria in Damaturu.
They held placards with different inscriptions condemning the deteriorating security in the country and urging President Buhari to ensure the protection of lives and property.
CAN state President Rev. Fr. Philibus Yakubu said that the Christian community in the state is still hopeful for Leah’s release.
“They will fight you, but they will not beat you, because I am with you. Yahweh declares to rescue him, ”quoted Jeremiah 1:19.
At a press conference in Abuja to mark the second year of Leah’s kidnapping, Rev. Ayokunle and Enenche said that as the Federal Government was unaware of the deaths in the country, urgent measures must be taken to defeat Boko Haram.
They said it was a disgrace for a government that has an Army, Air Force and Navy to allow level killings in their territory.
“Development is a disgrace and there is a cloud of confusion hanging over the nation and the people who run that nation are not doing the right thing,” they lamented.
Rev. Ayokunle, represented by CAN vice president, Caleb Ahima, said: “CAN is calling and talking to the government and I think (the government) is obvious about the persistence of this evil.
“We are sure of one thing. We cannot doubt that the government knows what is happening. Looking at the fact that we are a nation, we have the Air Force, the Navy, we have the soldiers, we have the weapons, but what is happening in this nation?
“We appeal again to the Federal Government that we are reaching a point of anarchy. It is the constitutional responsibility of the government to protect the lives and property of its citizens. But, where it seems to have been ignored. We have every reason to suspect and speak to the government with passion that the Christians of this nation are Nigerians and should not be killed.
“We want the world to know the evil that is happening in the country under the watchful eye of this government. More blood was spilled. The killing is religious. The Boko Haram sect wants to establish an Islamic state. We must stop these murders.
Pastor Enenche, who was the organizer of the event, expressed dissatisfaction with the way the government is dealing with Boko Haram. He asked the sponsors of evil to give up or face God’s punishment.
His words: “I think this day is one of the saddest in the history of our nation. There was a high level of voluntary ignorance on the part of the entire nation. It seems that some people are telling false stories.
“What kind of situation are we in? And who in this nation will be sincere enough to say that everything is right? If this is not a state of emergency of a very calamitous dimension, what are we experiencing? How far must it be before people are convinced? A nation is literally being swept from the north.
“Make clear the awareness that all is not well on earth. Today we have many people in the country, but it is as if their lips are closed. People are watching the evil happen and no one is saying anything.
“It is time for everyone to say no to this evil. No more wickedness and bloodshed. Enough with the terror. Everyone who is sponsoring, collaborating or supporting terrorists and bloodshed, know that your days are numbered. “
CAN asked the federal government to react to a video indicating that the Turkish government is one of the financiers of the insurgency in the country.
“We are concerned about the failure of the federal government to react to footage that the Turkish government is allegedly funding terrorists,” CAN said in a statement from its director of legal and public affairs.
He warned the government against rehabilitating repentant insurgents, saying the action looks suspicious.
The religious body again asked President Buhari to follow his promise on the release of Leah and everyone else in Boko Haram’s captivity.
He said: “The president made the same promise as part of his campaign promises before the 2015 presidential elections. When will he do this as he has repeatedly promised?
“Recently, President Buhari was widely publicized in the media reiterating his determination and promise to guarantee the release of all the people kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists, especially Miss Leah Sharibu and the Chibok girls.
“It has been two years since the young Christian woman and arguably the face of the Church in the country, Miss Sharibu, was captured by Boko Haram along with her colleagues, but she is the only one who is still languishing in the pit of her captors as a captive of the faith simply because, against pressure from terrorists, she would never convert to Islam.
“It is disheartening and painful that the government that released its colleagues did not consider it appropriate to guarantee their freedom, despite the fact that the government members have children or grandchildren of the same age, in addition to the fact that their father is a police officer.
“The same fate is the sad narrative of the mass kidnapping of Chibok girls since 2014, after the initial freedom of some of them. We commend the government for guaranteeing the freedom of some, but since then the rest have remained in captivity.”
CAN added that it was deeply saddened by the kidnapping puzzle, ransom payment and the non-release of Leah, her current reported condition and other victims.
He said: “The unsuccessful efforts to free the prisoner of faith by the federal government are highly disturbing, disappointing, depressing and unacceptable.
“Furthermore, some abductees and people kidnapped by terrorists have had their ransoms paid and released through the efforts of the federal government, relevant security agencies and some international non-governmental organizations.
“The recent sad narrative about Miss Sharibu’s maternal condition is worrying.”
Nigeria’s main religious body also expressed concern about the de-radicalization and empowerment of insurgents repented by the Federal Government, saying it fears that they may return to the Sambisa Forest to resume their activities.
Saying: “The release of so-called ex-Boko Haram terrorists under the radicalization, rehabilitation and empowerment of terrorists arrested by the federal government is very worrying and suspicious.
“What is the guarantee that the liberated ex-terrorists would not return to the Sambisa Forest and take up arms against innocent Nigerians? The press claims that a boss of the freed terrorists found his way back into the bush. “