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Still waiting for Leah Sharibu’s return

By Ayo Baje
30 May 2019   |   3:34 am
Quote: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil, /that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;/that put bitter...

Leah Sharibu

Quote: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil, /that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;/that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter./Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight.” -Isaiah 5 vs 20-21. To fully understand the sheer grief and grinding agony that Leah Sharibu’s parents go through every passing day, while still hanging on a thread of hope for their daughter’s return, we have to put ourselves in their sole-less shoes. Only recently, concerned citizens of the world, who still have the human heart beating in them, were in unison in condemning her continued incarceration by the Boko Haram terrorist captors. They are sore worried too that in spite of the frequent assurances from the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of her safe return, more has been said than known to the public in that regard.

That she spent over 420 days in the den of the religious extremists as the Christian faithful celebrated her 16th birthday in solemnity has made the Nigerian girl an enduring metaphor of what an unquenchable faith in God through Jesus the Christ should be.

It would be recalled that Leah Sharibu was denied freedom after the insurgents released 109 other students of Government Girls Science School, Dapchi, Yobe state after the abduction was carried out on February 19, 2018. It is worthy of note that the release came with the intervention of the federal government. Leah was reportedly held back because of her refusal to renounce her Christian faith.

Meanwhile, some concerned Nigerians are asking what would have happened if the religious pendulum has swung the other way? That is, if the terrorists were Christians asking the victim to turn over to their faith instead of Islam.

But members of the Buhari Media Organisation(BMO) are piqued by the allegations of the disinterest of the president in doing the needful. They have labeled that as both “nauseating and regrettable”. In their ever defensive words they have this to say: “Nothing can be more preposterous like the suggestion that President Buhari had not been concerned about Leah’s plight because of her refusal to renounce her faith”.

Expectedly too, they come in strong by making comparisons with what transpired during the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration. They are quick to remind us all that on April 14, 2014, some 276 school girls from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State were similarly abducted from their dormitory. They are also beating their chest that the current administration has so far succeeded in bringing back 107 of the hapless girls, at a time even Amnesty International had given up hope. Interestingly, they are silent on the strong feeling in some quarters that the Chibok Girl drama was one act of crude, callous and cruel political blackmail, aimed to kick Jonathan out of power!

So, one cannot but ask the critical question- for how long shall we continue to play dirty, muck-raking politics with the precious, irreplaceable lives of innocent Nigerians, and more grievous that of our defenceless youth? For how long are they going to be pawns in the chess-game of power-poaching politics?

For yours truly, the time to call a spade by its name is now. No nation that allows its citizens to be caught in the terrifying trap of gross insecurity, as we currently experience, or the shedding of so much innocent blood of its voiceless citizens can ever know peace or progress. Going through several biblical verses it becomes patently obvious that God decries the evil of the wanton wasting of precious human life. Methinks that those who value their own life should do so for others. If you do not want to die, do not kill. It is as simple as that!

For instance, the Holy Bible states unequivocally that: Thou shall not kill (Deut.5 vs 17).So, what happened to Cain, the first recorded murderer? He received an instant curse from God, too terrible to experience. And he said, what have thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground (Genesis 4 vs 10- 14).
What this implies is that each time a Nigerian takes the life of another, the voice of the victim cries unto his/her Maker, our all-knowing God. It does not matter the means employed. It could be through premeditated killing based on the dangerous dogma of religious extremism, as with Boko Haram insurgency, political differences and intolerance, ritual murder, inter-ethnic clashes, armed robbery or kidnapping and killing the victim because the ransom was not paid.

Whatever it is, the government should be there for the citizens as protective parents. Lack of that, in addition to the culture of impunity that has allowed perpetrators and masterminds of these killings to walk our streets as free men is not only reprehensible but stokes the fires of inequity! Worse still, is not only the odious idea but the act of granting killers some obnoxious amnesty or pay them humungous sums from our common treasury to placate them from further killings! Can you imagine that? That is never the way forward. Just when many thought that the flames of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East were about being extinguished, it metamorphosed into the cruel and callous attacks by some herdsmen, armed to the teeth against innocent citizens. From Plateau through Taraba, Benue to Enugu States, it has been blood-letting trails of anguish and pains.

Currently, it has taken another toga called armed banditry that swept through the North-West and has virtually consumed Zamfara state, snowballing to Sokoto and Katsina states. Yet, the victims have suffered as if there were no governments in place. But there is another dimension to the killings that is akin to the travails of Sharibu.

An instance came on June 2, 2016 when one Bridget Agbahime, the 74-year-old kitchen, and utensils trader from Imo State was brutally attacked and killed at Kofar Wambai market in Kano by a mob who accused her of blasphemy. But a Kano Magistrates’ Court discharged all the five suspects, who allegedly killed her! In a similar mindless manner, Mrs. Eunice Elisha, the 42 year-old mother of seven and the wife of a Redeemed Church Pastor was gruesomely murdered in cold blood in the early hours of Saturday July 9, 2016, by suspected fanatics while evangelizing around Gbazango and Pipeline area of Kubwa, a satellite town in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Also, on August 25, of the same year, eight Christians were sent to their early graves in Talata-Mafara in Zamfara State. But Governor Yari claimed that the victims were not Christians and that they were killed over a false alarm.

As Rev. Jude Uchechukwu stated on July 12, 2016: “It is unfortunate and a sign of the End Time that a woman who was preaching the gospel of salvation would be murdered in cold blood.”

And to the Christians who have had to bear the brunt of the Boko Haram blood-letting over the past few years, God had predicted it in the bible. Read this carefully: They shall put you off the synagogues (churches).Yea; the time cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you because they have not known the Father, nor me.( St John 16 vs 2-3).

Everything humanly possible should therefore, be done to get Leah Sharibu back to the warm embrace of her long-traumatized parents and give the concerned world a breath of freedom from religious extremism.