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We want Leah Sharibu out, religious leaders beg FG, Boko Haram

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•Renew call for change of Service Chiefs

By Emmanuel Elebeke

CLERICS in Nigeria have appealed to the abductors of Leah Sharibu to release her  without further delay.

The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Northern Nigeria, Reverend Yakubu Pam and the Chief Imam of Apo Legislative Quarters, Sheikh Mohmamed Khalid made the appeal at a press conference on the sidelines of the Interfaith Conference in Abuja yesterday.

Leah Sharibu

“We are here today, the two major religions in Nigeria, Christianity and Islam. The leaders are here and traditional rulers are also here to discuss about peace ahead of the 2019 general elections and we also find it very important today to address a burning issue that has been disturbing the peace of the country and that is the issue of the abduction of some of our innocent teenagers and young ladies, particularly Leah Sharibu and others and we have heard what the abductors have said.

“We are here as religious leaders and traditional rulers to appeal to the conscience of the abductors of these innocent girls. I know too the mothers have also cried, the families have cried to the abductors of these innocent girls and well-meaning citizens of Nigeria have also cried. We want to appeal to them, please for the sake of God,  release these innocent girls. They are very innocent and I believe that by doing this Nigeria will appreciate,” Reverend Pam said.

“We are aware that the President has made a call to Leah’s mother and also heard about threats from abductors. That is why we find it necessary to make a conscientious  call to abductors, adding our voice to other peace-loving Nigerians saying let this girl and other innocent girls be released.

In his remarks, the Chief Imam of Apo Legislative Quarters, Sheikh Khalid said the abductors of Miss Sharibu were on their own and they do not represent Islam.

“We are here to speak on behalf of the bodies of the two main religions, Islam and Christianity. We want the world to understand that these people that are holding our children and other people in captivity are not representing anything, they are on their own. Islam is not asking them to abduct  anybody and we the Muslims are going to join hands with anybody to do anything possible to secure Nigerians from their agony.”

He said the abductors of Miss Sharibu have no basis to hold her captive since other girls abducted with her had been  released.

“We are appealing to the government to do anything possible to make sure that no Nigerian is in captivity.  Government has not done enough to secure the release of the girls, that is why we are insisting that no Nigerian should be in captivity or abducted, we want peace in Nigeria and we want government to ensure the security of every Nigeria, especially the girl child.

“My message to Boko Haram is to fear Almighty Allah and release those in their captivity and also, let them embrace peace by coming to round table with government to discuss what they want and how  they want the government to  go about it. And let them give conditions that are realistic.

We are appealing to them to rethink and revisit their minds so that they will release their captives, especially Leah Sharibu,” Sheikh Khalid said.

On the fight against insurgency, the Sheik said:  “The security agencies claim they are doing their best to end insurgency, but unfortunately for us, their best is not enough. The young soldiers are crying for their welfare, their needs should be catered for so that they can serve their fatherland with full commitment.”

On the call for change of service chiefs, Rev. Pam said: “Yes, it is good for government to look at other areas. We have also made that call earlier, that they should look at the issue of service chiefs to be able to meet up with yearnings of Nigerians in order to reflect the Federal Character Principle and other undermined interests not captured in the present appointments of the service chiefs. We have written to the President, gone to him and believe he will do it.

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