The Christian Association of Nigeria has warned that there may be religious war in Nigeria should Leah Sharibu, the Dapchi Christian girl still being held by Boko Haram, die in captivity.
The Special Assistant (Media and Communications) to CAN President, Adebayo Oladeji, on Friday in an exclusive interview with Saturday Punch, said CAN would not stop to agitate for the release of the schoolgirl, adding that her death could spell doom for the country as she was being detained because of her religious inclination.
Oladeji said, “Recently, CAN called out its members to demand for her release. We have addressed a press conference calling for her release. At every opportunity any church leader has to speak to the public, they demand her release.
“We are doing a lot of things we cannot be disclosing to the public. Our concern includes the silence of the media and the civil society organisations thinking Leah Sharibu is a CAN affair. How many editorials have been written about her plight?
He added, “CAN will not cease the agitation for the release of all the abductees, including Leah Sharibu. Let all and sundry rise up against the failure of the security agencies and ask President Muhammadu Buhari to wake up from his slumber before the terrorists and herdsmen finish the country.
“Leah Sharibu must not die. Her death, God forbids, can spell doom for Nigeria. It can give an open invitation to religious war because Leah is being detained purely because of her religion.”
Similarly, the Pentecostal Christian Association, which is the umbrella body that coordinates the activities of pentecostal, evangelical and charismatic ministries, churches and associations, described the country’s peace as hinged on Sharibu’s safety. Its National Publicity Secretary, Bishop Emmah Isong, said, “We can tell you that the peace of this country hangs on the Federal Government’s promise to secure the release of Leah Sharibu. She has become an ambassador of Christianity to the Republic of Boko Haram and we are demanding that she returns home safely to her parents.
“All Nigerian youths are waiting to see what the Federal Government will do. Our constitution, which requires the government to be a protector of lives and property, will be called to question if Leah is not released. We do hope that with our prayers and the concern of all Nigerians, including Christians and Muslims, Leah would be released very soon by the grace of God.
Sharibu was among the 111 girls abducted by Boko Haram on February 19 in Dapchi, Yobe State. The insurgents had since returned 105 of the girls, but refused to release Leah on the ground that she refused to renounce her Christian faith, while five of the girls were said to have died.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, had on Wednesday said efforts were on to ensure the release of Sharibu, noting that she would not be abandoned by the Federal Government.