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Women protest, demand release of Leah Sharibu, Chibok girls

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In this video grab made on January 15, 2018 from a video released the same day by Islamist militants group Boko Haram shows at least 14 of the schoolgirls abducted from the northeast Nigerian town of Chibok in April 2014.<br />The jihadists seized 276 students from the Government Girls Secondary School in the mostly Christian town in Borno state on April 14, 2014, triggering global condemnation. / AFP PHOTO / BOKO HARAM / Handout

A group, Christian Women on the Plateau for Peace and Security, yesterday protested to the state legislature in Jos where it called for the release of Leah Sharibu and the remaining Chibok girls abducted over three years ago.

The group’s general secretary, Mrs. Joy Machunga and a cleric, Mrs. Esther Ibanga, said: “As Christian women on the Plateau, we all gathered here today (yesterday) in unity and solidarity with Leah.”

They raised the alarm that over 50 communities in the state had been sacked with the victims dispossessed of their property by armed gunmen. The women also regretted that women and children had been rendered destitute, widows and orphans in a most traumatised fashion.

The group noted: “Our heartfelt anguish, sorrow and concern over the continued captivity and the current plight of our daughter and sister, a 14-year old Leah Sharibu, one of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents on February 19, 2018 from Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi in Yobe State know no bounds.”

It regretted that the sole offence for the continued captivity of the teenager was her refusal to renounce her Christian faith.

“We share in her identity and it has become crystal clear that Christians in Nigeria, especially in the northern part, are increasingly becoming endangered species,” they added.

The women, while lending their voice to the immediate release of the girl, said: “We the Christian women on the Plateau wish to remind the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of his promise to Nigeria during his 2015 inauguration speech in which he said he belongs to nobody but belongs to everybody.”

They appealed to government to set up a task force comprising credible government and civil society officials and women groups to resettle and rehabilitate the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the state.

Responding, the speaker of the assembly, Peter Azi, said the lawmakers share in their moment of grief, especially at a time that “our own daughter needs us most.”

He noted that Sharibu’s case was a testament that women were still endangered species, urging the Federal Government to secure the release of the teenager by all means possible in good time.


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