By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, CSN, has urged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to, as a matter of urgency, go the extra miles in re-negotiating the unconditional release of Leah Sharibu from Boko Haram captivity.
It also reminded President Buhari that Nigeria is a secular country where the government has the responsibility of ensuring the safety of every Nigerian irrespective of religious, political and ethnic differences.
Last week, the President had given assurances that he will not relent in his effort to ensure the release of 15-yr-old Leah.
However, in a statement issued to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday by Secretary-General of CSN, Rev Fr. Ralph Madu, the Nigerian Catholic Community noted since the President gave those assurances not much has been heard from the government on the efforts being made to secure Leah’s freedom
The church further said that the travails of the teenage girl have become a symbol of the sufferings, persecutions, challenges and intimidations Christians face daily in the country.
The statement reads in part: “The story of Leah Sharibu is indeed a mixed story of faith, as well as a sad commentary on how religion has often been used as a tool of division by many for their own selfish purposes. The 15-year old Leah has indeed become a symbol of the sufferings, persecutions, challenges and intimidations Christians face daily in Nigeria for expressing their faith especially in public.
“We use this medium to appeal to the Federal Government to go the extra miles in re-negotiating the unconditional release of Leah without further delay. We must remember that this is a secular country and the government has the responsibility of ensuring the safety of every Nigerian irrespective of religious, political and ethnic differences.
“At the long run, everyone in Nigeria, both Christians and Muslims alike, have much to learn from a deeply courageous 15 year old Christian girl from Dapchi about what it means to be loyal to one’s faith and to be faithful to one’s God even in the face of adversity.”
Madu also thanked the parents of Leah for bringing up their daughter in a truly Christian way with love and fear of God over the fear of man; and commended their fortitude in bearing the present predicament of their daughter.
“This exemplary family life should be a lesson worthy of emulation by all Nigerian families and communities irrespective of religious affinity,” the CSN scribe said.