The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Wednesday described as troubling and suspicious the Federal Government’s release of some Boko Haram insurgents arrested a few years ago in the North East.
The Christians umbrella body expressed fears that some ex-terrorists freed by the government under the de-radicalization, rehabilitation and empowerment initiative may return to the Sambisa forest and pick up their arms against innocent Nigerians, adding that a terror kingpin who was also released by the government had reportedly found his way back to the bush.
It also expressed disappointment with the government’s silence on a report about the Turkish government’s alleged funding of Boko Haram and other terror organizations across the world.
CAN in its reaction to President Buhari’s fresh promise to release Leah Sharibu and other Boko Haram captives, implored the President to fulfill his 2015 pre-election promise on the matter.
In a statement issued by its National Director, Legal and Public Affairs, Evang. Kwamkur Vondip, the body advised the government to reconsider its priorities and match its promises with actions.
The statement read: “Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari was widely reported in the media reiterating his resolve and promise to secure the release of all persons abducted by the Boko Haram terrorists, especially Miss Leah Sharibu and the Chibok girls.
“The President made this same promise as part of his campaign promises before the 2015 presidential election. When will he do as he has promised repeatedly?
“It is two years now since that young Christian girl and unarguably, the face of the Church in the country, Miss Leah Sharibu, was captured by Boko Haram along with other colleagues but she is the only one still languishing in the den of her captors as a captive of faith simply because against the pressure from the terrorists, she would not convert to Islam.
“It is disheartening and painful that the government that freed her colleagues has not deemed it fit to secure her freedom, despite the fact that those in government have children or grandchildren of her age coupled with the fact that her father is a serving police officer.
“The same fate is the sad narrative of the Chibok girls’ mass abduction since 2014 after the initial freedom of a few of them. We commended the government then for securing the freedom of some but since then, the rest have remained in captivity.
“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is deeply saddened by the puzzle of kidnapping, ransom payment and the non-release of Leah, her reported present condition as well as other victims.
“The unsuccessful efforts to free the prisoner of faith by the federal government are highly disturbing, disappointing, depressing and unacceptable.
“More so that some abductees and persons kidnapped by the terrorists have had their ransoms paid and freed through the efforts of the federal government, relevant security agencies and some international Non-Governmental Organisations.
“The recent sad narrative about Miss Leah Sharibu’s maternal condition is worrisome. Also, the setting free of so-called ex-Boko Haram terrorists under de-radicalization, rehabilitation, empowerment of the arrested terrorists by the Federal Government is rather troubling and suspicious.
“What is the guarantee that the freed ex-terrorists would not return to Sambisa forest and pick up their arms against innocent Nigerians? Media reports have it that a kingpin of the terrorists who was released has found his way back to the bush!
“We are equally disappointed and disturbed by the failure of the federal government to react to the footage going round that the Turkish government is allegedly funding the terrorists.
“We call on the government to please stop releasing those who are responsible for the horrendous killings in the country. It is like urinating on the graves of those they killed as well as a dirty slap on the faces of the bereaved and a way of weakening the morale of security agents in the battlefield. Where on earth have they released the captured rebellious soldiers while the war is still raging? Was any armed robber ever released after being caught by the security agents?”