From Noah Ebije, Kaduna

A group, Christians Solidarity Worldwide Nigeria (CSW-N), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest in Kaduna, demanding release of abducted schoolgirls from Dapchi in Yobe State and Chibok in Borno State who have spent six and 10 years in captivity respectively.

The group noted that Leah Sharibu was 14 years old when she was abducted in February 2018 alongside 150 of her classmates while they were in school in Dapchi, but one month later all the other girls were released, except Leah Sharibu because she refused to renounce her faith before her abductors.

In 204, over 170 girls were abducted in Chibok. Fifty seven of them are still being held by their abductors, raising fears that they might have been killed.

Leading the protest, Chief Executive Officer of the CSW-N, Rev. Yunusa Nmadu, called on the Federal Government and security agencies to ensure safe return of the kidnapped victims without further delay.

The protesters who marched within the premises of the ECWA Good News Church in Narayi, Chikun Local Government Area, displayed placards which carried different inscriptions such as  “Government rescue our boys, rescue our girls, rescue our children, rescue the remaining Chibok girls, rescue Leah Sharibu, free Lilian, free Alice, rescue the remaining Chibok girls, remember the remaining 16 people kidnapped in Gonin Gora, rescue all those in captivity, education is not a crime, rescue our children, government act now.”

Addressing the protesters, Rev. Nmadu said: “It started in Chibok town in 2014, we thought that was the end but it keep recurring every now and then, 10 years after, many schoolgirls are still in captivity and this morning, we have all come out to commemorate the 21st birthday of Leah Sharibu who has become the face of this campaign and many other campaigns for safe schoolchildren.

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We therefore want to wish her a happy birthday even in captivity.

“But then, we also want to entreat the government that they must do the needful. Nigeria is ebbing out. Nigeria is dying. We are almost surrendering to insecurity and bandits, kidnappers and all sorts of evil people in our land. It is time to stop. Our children must go to school. We must stay safe in our homes. Our homes are no longer safe. Our roads are no  longer safe.

“Government must come to terms with what is happening in the country and they must save the lives of the populists. We voted you in for security but what we get is insecurity. Therefore, we ask and we speak this time to President Bola Tinubu. Please, up your game, save lives. People are dying in their hundreds everyday. This is unacceptable to us as citizens of this country. Security is our right.

“Therefore, we hope that the government will listen and do the needful. Save our schools. Save our girls. It is not a crime to go to school. It is the responsibility of the government to secure our schools and protect the lives and property of the citizens of this country.”

Speaking to newsmen shortly after the protest, the Secretary, Kaduna State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Emmanuel Okunlola said, “Nigeria must be protected. Nigeria must be secured. It’s the primary responsibility of the government to protect lives and property. Therefore, we called on the federal and state governments and all those involved to rise up to the occasion and expedite action on the release of Leah Sharibu.

“Not only Leah Sharibu but every other person that is being held in captivity. Nigeria is a peaceful country, therefore, we will not allow any stranger to come back to Nigeria and destroy our country for us.  so that all those in captivity are released as soon as possible. We are calling on all state governments, the Federal Government and the National Security Adviser to rise to the occasion and expedite action on the release of our abducted  girls.

“This is the only thing that will make Nigeria the giant brother of Africa, not in an unsaved  environment or unsecured environment. Let the government do the needful so that we can be peaceful in Nigeria. God bless Nigeria.”