Dapchi abduction: Northern Christians demand release of Leah Sharibu

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*15-year-old Leah and mother, Rebecca

The Congress of Northern Nigeria Christians (CNNC) in the 19 Northern states and Abuja has called for the immediate release of Leah Sharibu, the only remaining Dapchi schoolgirl still in Boko Haram captivity.

Addressing a press conference in Kaduna, spokesman for CNNC, Mr. Larry Yammai, said the congress was still saddened that Leah was still held captive by the insurgents.

“While we rejoice that almost all the girls have been released, we are heavily saddened that our daughter, Miss Leah Sharibu, is being held because of her faith.

“To this end, CNNC strongly condemns this evil tendency and urges Mr. President to, as a matter of urgency, intervene for the immediate release of this young girl.” The congress also said it is worried with different accounts of kidnappings and adoption of Christian girls in the North. According to the group, “The Northern landscape is replete with the accounts of kidnappings, forceful adoption, conversion and forced marriages of Christian children.

“The CNNC has seen this ploy as a tactical plan to forcefully change the faith of our children and plunge them and their parents into an untenable situation. Forced conversion and forced marriages have become common place in many parts of the country.

“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for freedom of worship and this provision must be allowed to prevail and without any molestation from any quarters.” It demanded for the release of the remaining Chibok girls.

“We demand with a strong voice that all the remaining Chibok girls and other victims be released without delay. It is ironical that the detained terrorists are being released in greater numbers in the name of de-radicalization while their captives are still being held.

“Preventive measures should be taken to protect all girls’ boarding schools wherever they may be in the North. “While we appreciate the timely government intervention and release of Dapchi students, it is worthy to strongly note that the experience is a worrisome signal that abduction of schoolgirls can happen anywhere at any time,” CNNC said. The group also decried the selective appointment.

“CNNC is dismayed to note that a valuable sector of the populace is being totally ignored as far as it concerns making appointments, civil or political. Qualified and loyal citizens from the North, who happen to be Christians, are often turned away in their legitimate quest for jobs because of their faith. By the same reason, they are denied promotions.

“This unfair treatment should not have any place in the 21st Century when all nations are seeking for quality and experienced hands to develop themselves. Northern State Governments should look into this matter and ensure that equity prevails in employment practices,” it said. The Congress condemned the herdsmen killings.

It would be recalled that Leah is the only student out of 113 abducted from Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State on February 19, 2018 still being held by the terrorists.

Her colleagues regained freedom on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 but she is being kept in custody over her failure to renounce Christianity.

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