“I have been kidnapped and been missing for 10 years. I am here. I am free now. It was really hard, going to sleep at night, you know. If you wanted to toss on to your back, you couldn’t do that—you would have to take the whole chain and move it to the front of your stomach so that you are not laying on the big lock on your back.” —Amanda Berry
I hope the threshold of this year signifies an outright end to human rights’ subjugation and heinous crime in Nigeria. The country has transformed into a jungle where people are killed ruthlessly without any trials and an abode where innocent ones disappear without any traces. Leah Sharibu is one of the thousand Nigerians who had been stripped off of their human dignity unjustifiably. She alongside her colleagues was abducted by the Boko Haram terrorists’ group from their boarding school in Dapchi village, Yobe State on the February 19, 2018. Barely two months after the incident, other students regained their freedom while Leah Sharibu remains in captivity. It was reported that she is being held for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.
The psychological and mental trauma that Leah Sharibu has been undergoing can be pictured vividly through her recent audio clip released by Boko Haram. I anticipate a day when Sharibu will face the whole world and narrate her ordeals in the Boko Haram’s enclave like Amanda Berry who gave the aforementioned account after she regained her freedom from Ariel Castro in the USA. Unlike Berry who spent 10 years in captivity, I hope Sharibu regains her freedom soonest.
In this epoch, if there is ever a human being that is worthy of celebration in the terrain of Christendom, that person is Leah Sharibu. I have read the story of heroes and heroines who stood firm on their conviction amidst stern intimidation but I am privy to witness the story of Sharibu, the goddess of resistance. She has laid and rejuvenated indelible imprints on standing against oppression. Sharibu has secured a remarkable place for herself in human history in an era percolated with individuals upholding zigzag and swingy stances.
It is sardonic that the federal government of Nigeria shows nonchalant disposition to Sharibu’s disappearance. The FG has failed to take any serious practical steps to secure her release. Unfortunately, the Christian religious leaders as well seem to have been more interested in organising prayers and fasts for corrupt politicians and affluent personality. Sharibu who strongly upholds the tenet of Christianity is forgotten while its saboteurs are being celebrated.
Boko Haram is a terrorist sect. Its political and religious worldview utterly contradicts Islamic doctrines. Islam values humanity, peace and freedom like every other religion in Nigeria. Boko Haram sect is a common enemy. Therefore, all the religious leaders must unite and campaign against this deadly sect. It is also pertinent that they join the civil rights’ movements both locally and internationally in demanding for the immediate release of Miss Leah Sharibu. The FG must reposition the Nigerian security intelligence to facilitate her release and bring an end to terrorism and human rights’ violations in Nigeria.
Binzak Azeez, Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife