By Cosmas Omegoh, Lagos
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev Dr Alfred Adewale Martins, has urged the federal government to secure the release of Leah Sharibu who was abducted by Boko Haram in 2018.
He said the failure of the government to secure Leah’s release, coupled with the recent increase in cases of kidnapping and armed banditry across the country, the very recent being the abduction of over 40 students of a boys’ secondary school in Niger State and four of their teachers, is regrettable in view of the enormous financial and material resources being expended to fight the insurgency and insecurity in the country.
In a release signed by the Director of Social Communications, Rev Fr Anthony Godonu, Archbishop Martins insisted that government owes the family of Leah Sharibu and all Nigerians the duty to not only secure her release and those of other abducted students but also to put an end to all forms of insecurity.
The statement read:
‘It is sad to note that a whole three years have passed by since Leah Sharibu, a Christian student of the Government Science Secondary School, Dapchi, Yunusari Local Government Area of Yobe State was abducted from her school premises along with other girls and has since been in incarceration. The federal government did promise, as a matter of priority, to ensure her release. Unfortunately, she along with others is still languishing in the hands of their abductors to date. We have been told that several efforts have been made to ensure her release, but we are yet to see them materialise. One can only imagine the severe physical, emotional, and psychological torture she and her parents have been going through all these years. We are therefore appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to do all in his power as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the one from whom all other Security agencies take their orders, to secure her release and those of other abducted students and unite them once again to their already distraught families.’
Archbishop Martins also congratulated the newly appointed Service Chiefs and reminded them of the enormous responsibility ahead of them, especially the need to win back the full confidence of Nigerians in the military.
He urged the new service chiefs to take the fight against insurgents to a higher level by buoying the morale of the officers and men of the force and to employ sophisticated intelligence techniques to identify and further decimate the Boko Haram members and the bandits terrorising the country.
It would be recalled that Leah Sharibu, a Christian, was among the 110 female students of Government Science Secondary School, Dapchi, in Yobe State abducted from their school premises by Boko Haram members on February 19, 2018. Her case, in particular, attracted unprecedented local and global attention owing to the fact that others were released while she was detained for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.