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Archbishop calls for release of Leah Sharibu in Nigeria

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Archbishop calls for release of Leah Sharibu in Nigeria

The Anglican Primate of Nigeria Nicholas Okoh called for respect for the sanctity of life, at the annual general meeting of the Church of Nigeria, ‘The Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON).

The Conference once again made a plea for the release and safe return of Leah Sharibu, the Christian girl held captive by the Al Barnawi sect of the Boko Haram terror group and “the remaining Chibok girls.

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Church of Nigeria and outgoing President of the Global Anglican Future Conference, GAFCON, expressed the frustration of many Nigerians with the inability of the leadership of the country to stop the killing of christians in northeastern and central regions of the country.

DIVCCON conference, Abuja

The Primate lamented “the loss of peace, insecurity of lives and property, economic downturn, political instability, loss of true religion, loss of brotherly love, loss of unity, loss of worth for the sanctity of human lives.”

Okoh said God can restore the country to a glorious state but that will depend on the leaders of the country and the people.

Also speaking to thousands of clergy and laity, Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi, the Bishop of Jos and incoming General Secretary of GAFCON said the time has come for the church to be revived and arise to its responsibilities of standing up for justice and truth in the country.

Archbishop Kwashi noted that the Nigerian nation cannot be transformed by the current set of political leadership in the present circumstances, for the nation to experience any change, it  “must start within the church and then the church will change the nation.”

Church leaders and community leaders have accused President Muhammadu Buhari of paying lip service to the destruction of Christian communities in the predominantly Christian communities of the central region of Nigeria because of his ethnic background as a Fulani and a Muslim. This is a claim he denies.

After a meeting with the President Buhari in Abuja, last week, the President of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) Dachollom Datiri, said: “A dangerous jihad has been launched against the church and is rightly termed both conventional and stealth jihad,” adding that “The sooner we realize this and take action the better. This stealth jihad can be seen also in the blatant refusal by most Northern states governors to allocate land for church buildings or grant titles for such lands.”

Archbishop Benjamin Kwash

The denominational leader pointed out the deliberate act of government in championing Islam in a secular nation saying the other form of the jihad is “the suspension of Christian Religious Knowledge subject in public schools in most Northern states.”

A recent report by a Committee on Resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons in Jos, Plateau state, central Nigeria, after studying 55 memoranda and visiting 27 refugee camps, said more than 1,801 people were killed, while 50,212 others were displaced from their land by Islamic Fulani militia.

The report said 115 villages, in Jos North, Jos South, Bassa, Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Bokkos local government areas, have been devastated by the Islamist herdsmen.

“The committee also identified 87 villages and farmlands that were destroyed and, in most cases, annexed by Fulani herdsmen in the five local government areas.” According to the Chairman of the Committee, retired Air Vice Marshall Bala Danbaba.

He called called on the government to provide needed security for the people so they can return to their villages.

Archbishop Okoh, prayed for Christian politicians to stand for truth an justice as the 2019 general elections approach and asked christians to pray for God to “bring long term gains from short term loss”

Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos

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