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Protect Christians, Release International tells Buhari

West & Central Africa

Protect Christians, Release International tells Buhari

Report: Hassan John

Release International, the organization speaking and campaigning for persecuted Christians worldwide, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, who just won a re-election, to protect the Christian population in Nigeria against the ongoing attacks by the Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group and the Fulani cattle herdsmen militia.

Nigeria ranks third on the Global Terrorism Indexas the most terrorized country in the world for the fourth consecutive year. The terrorist groups have killed more than 300, 000 people and displaced over two million in the predominantly Christian regions of the middle and north-eastern Nigeria.

Burnt Church by Fulani attackers in Dogo na Hauwa, Jos: Photo Credit: Author

Many Christians in Nigeria believe these armed groups are well funded by Islamist movements both within and outside the country. The Christian Association of Nigeria and Christian Elders have accused the Nigerian government and President Buhari of complacency and protecting particularly the Fulani Islamists because he is a Muslim from the same nomadic tribe. Some elements in the Nigerian armed forces have also been accused of collusion in the massacre of Christians.

‘They have killed with impunity, and that impunity must stop,’ said Paul Robinson, Release Chief executive said.

“Questions remain about who is arming the Fulani and why? Whose agenda do they serve by attacking Christians? And why has the government of Nigeria done so little to disarm them?” said Robinsonand added that “Nigeria’s re-elected president must answer these questions – and take immediate action to stop the violence.”

The Bishop of Jos, Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi, a Release International partner, said “the government has been unable to provide security for the poor. The government must rise to its responsibility to mete out justice and save lives.’

Former Military President and dictator, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, while congratulating Buhari, also charged the President to make insurgency and insecurity in Nigeria a priority among other things.

Leah Sharibu: Photo Credit: Leah’s Family

Meanwhile Rebecca Sharibu,mother of Leah Sharibu, the only Christian girls who is still under Boko Haram’s captivity, has congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on his victory at the polls and begged him to fulfil his promise to do everything possible to secure the release of Leah.

“I want to remind the President that, as he celebrates his victory, he should not forget that Leah is still in the hands of Boko Haram. As for me, my heart is heavy because I have not seen my daughter for more than one year now. I am calling on the President to fulfill his promise of freeing my daughter from the hands of Boko Haram. My cry is still the same, today and tomorrow until I see my daughter,”Rebecca said

Addressing the terrorist group, Rebecca pleaded with them, “to have mercy on my daughter and other captives and release them unconditionally,” pleading with the terrorists to “know that we have been subjected to psychological torture and trauma since my daughter was taken away. Please have mercy on my daughter,” she sobbed. 

The Al-Barnawi Boko Haram terrorist group had kidnapped 115 Muslim girls at the Dapchi Girls Secondary School in February 2018. Leah Sharibu was the only Christian among them. Boko Haram later released the Muslim girls after a paid ransom but refused to release Leah because she refused to convert to Islam.

Cover image CC: Nigerianmonitor

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