The news of the return of the abducted Dapchi girls by the Islamic extremists group Boko Haram after negotiation with the Federal Government is commendable and we thus commend the Muhammadu Buhari led administration.

It is however painful to hear that five of the abducted girls had died before the release and we commiserate with the parents and family of the deceased abducted girls.

It is further very much disheartening to hear that one of the abducted girls, Leah Sharibu is still being held captive by the extremists on account of her refusal to renounce Christianity and convert to Islam.

We find it reprehensible and view it as an act of callousness on the part of the Federal Government in allowing Leah to continue to be held in captivity in the course of their negotiation on account of her religious faith.

Can it be said that the Government willfully sacrificed this courageous Christian girl for the release of others and failed to defend and protect her constitutional right to freedom of religion in order to earn public applause or score political points? Or is it a message to the world under the leadership of President Muhammed Buhari that Nigeria is no longer a secular state, thus confirming rife accusations that Mr. President is pursuing an Islamic Agenda?

We note that more than 90% of the abducted Chibok girls are Christians, and wonder if perhaps the failure of the Federal Government to ensure the release of the remaining Chibok girls still held captive by the Islamic Extremist group is for the same reason as in the instant case of Leah Sharibu.

It is time for the Federal Government to live up to its responsibility and uphold the tenets and principles of the Nigerian Constitution. Every citizen has a right to be protected irrespective of his/her gender, culture and religious belief.

We the Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) hereby call on Mr. President to rise to his constitutional duties and ensure the immediate release of Leah Sharibu and the other remaining Chibok girls.

 

 

Arome Okwori
President,
Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON)