Leah Shuaibu: Faith or Insanity?
It is very unfortunate that a negative incident as this is what will break my silence so far. Truth be told I do not wish to come back online any sooner but necessity is laid upon me to speak up at this crucial point in time. I admit that I do not have all the details but let me state the little information I have at my disposal which is prone to correction:
- That the so-called terrorist group, Boko Haram, which the present government claimed to have defeated, abducted a total of one hundred and ten girls in the town of Dapchi, Yobe State.
- That the Federal Government, led by the All Progressive Congress which had formerly stated in her days of opposition that it is wrong for a government to negotiate with terrorists, negotiated with the Boko Haram sect, a popular terrorist organisation, for the release of the Dapchi Girls just as she did for the Chibok Girls who were abducted under the PDP-led government of the Goodluck Jonathan’s regime.
- That the present leadership of the Federal Government paid a ransom of $20,000,000 to the terrorists in order to ensure the release of the abducted Dapchi Girls.
- That the Boko Haram terrorists fulfilled their part of the negotiation, just as the FG did, by bringing back the abducted Dapchi girls.
- That the terrorist organisation brought only one hundred and five (105) girls out of the one hundred and ten (110) girls abducted because four of them died remaining one in the terrorist organisation’s custody.
- And, that the one girl remaining in the terrorist organisation’s custody is a certain Leah Shuaibu, a Christian girl who refused conversion to Islam.
The foregoing are the information available to me and I am writing based on it.
So, friends, let us consider some very salient facts.
The Boko Haram Organisation has been a thorn in the flesh of our beloved country, Nigeria, for many years and ever before the emergence of the present President of the Nation, President Muhammadu Buhari. It has launched attacks on the nation in many places and has abducted several of her citizens. This recent abduction and subsequent release leaves many gaps to fill by keen and sincere observers. I am not writing to fill the gaps, anyway. My intention is to address the non-release of Leah.
Leah is a Nigerian who has the right to security by the Federal Government. The Government has done well in ensuring the release of the abducted girls (this appreciation is notwithstanding whatever failures and gimmicks might have been behind the whole scenario in the first place). What matters to me NOW is that all these girls are back in safe hands and in their homes. They are back in their familiar terrain and with those they trust better. This I appreciate.
The problem I have, however, is the non-release of Leah Shuaibu on the basis of her being a Christian and her non-insistence to convert to Islam. This question bothering me: “Is conversion to Islam one of the requisites for the release of the abducted girls?’ or could it be that the ransom paid by the government is only for Muslim girls? Whichever way we might ask the question, it is evident that there is a religious discrimination in this situation and that impinges on the right of Leah as a Nigerian to Freedom of Religious Expression as enshrined in the nation’s constitution. This should NEVER be allowed, come what may.
Needful to say, it is commendable that the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), ably represented by Mr. Ishaq Akintola, condemned this religious discrimination. This is more so in light of the fact that many so-called “fathers of faith” in the terrain of Nigerian Christianity have gone dumb as is their usual behaviour in matters like this. These “men of God” are outspoken when the “Tithe Debate” was on. They had the energy, enthusiasm, time, and voice to logically and/or emotionally respond to people who threatened their stable source of income, i.e. Tithe and First Fruits. They made Press Releases, video recordings and the likes just to ensure money keep coming into the church’s coffers. The same was done during the “Eternal Security” Debate such that there were some who even spent “their” money to sponsor Facebook posts in defence of their “beliefs” but these same ministers cannot raise their voice to remind the Federal Government of her duty to protect her citizens. Nevertheless, I appreciate the Press Statement released by Pator Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant (Media and Communication) to the CAN President, His Eminence, Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, on behalf of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). This is a very good step though coming later than expected.
It is very unfortunate that Pastor Professor Yemi Osinbajo whom many members of the Nigerian Christian Community look up to as her representative in the government seems to be unconcerned. This is so pathetic. This is not to talk of the many so-called “Christian” Governors, Legislators, and other stakeholders in the Nation’s Polity. Every one of them seems not to be mounting pressure on the Federal Government to ensure that Leah Shuaibu is released from the den of her abductors. These are the same people who come back again next year to play religious cards to divide us in order to elect them. May God help us to see beyond our noses. As a person, I see no difference between a so-called Muslim politician who is alleged to sponsor terrorism and a so-called Christian politician who cannot speak up and fight against terrorism, by all means possible. Mind you, I am not saying these terrorists are sponsored by Muslim politicians. I only made an inference. Deal with it!
I often say it that we only know how much insecurity exists in the North because the unscrupulous elements have already gained foothold. How do we prepare against them down south? Is the church reaching out to those set of people who are in the process of being used by the devil and incongruous power-mongers in the society in anyway? Are we preaching the genuine gospel which will help believers to stand their ground in the den of soulless and devilish people, like young Leah unexpectedly found herself? Are we discipling people who will rather die than deny their faith?
This post is not to answer these questions but to charge the Buhari-led Federal Government to facilitate the release of Sister Leah Shuaibu. She has the right to reject the call to Islam by the devil-inspired terrorists. What she did is in tandem with the Nation’s Constitution and it is supported by the Qur’an in Sura 2:256 which states that “there is no compulsion in religion.” It is pathetic if the Buhari-led Federal Government fails to take action and ensure the safe return of our Dear Leah Shuaibu. In fact, I consider it as an unfortunate failure. The Federal Government paid the ransom from the money belonging to the nation, which by implication belongs to everyone who is a citizen, irrespective of his or her religious, tribal, or political affiliation.
Dear Mr President, you cannot fold your hands and let these terrorists play a fast one on the nation by keeping in hostage a citizen you already paid for her release. It is grossly unfair that you overlook this act or ignore it. Truth is we will not accept this religious persecution. It has been ongoing for a very long time and our “Christian” leaders seem not to be tasking the Government to ensure an end comes to this ploy of destroying Christianity in our land. Nonetheless, God will defeat every detractor and their sponsor/supporter.
It is our sincere prayer that God will help you to bring back Sister Leah.
God will have His way in our dear nation. Amen
- Written by Anthony Opeyemi Ibn Fawole, who is a theologian and missionary.
Follow us on Twitter