African Victims of Persecution to Hold Prayer Vigil and
Rally at Capitol Saturday
Washington, DC – As prayer
activists plan a vigil at the Capitol for a Nigerian kidnap victim, lawmakers move
to pressure the government of Nigeria to act.
Friends of Leah Sharibu, the schoolgirl who refused recant her faith to Boko Haram terrorists in 2017, will gather at the Grant Memorial on the West face of the Capitol on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
A petition to President Muhammadu Buhari signed by three U.S. Senators and 11 Congressmen was released Wednesday. The letter thanks the government of Nigeria for its efforts to gain the release of all the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in February of 2017 but asks the president to do more.
“The United State and Nigeria maintain a strategic relationship critical to both our interests and is built on mutual values which cannot be reconciled with Leah’s ongoing imprisonment,” according to the letter. “We respectfully urge your administration to use the full extent of your power to secure Leah’s safe return.” Signers included Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Benjamin Cardin; Congressmen who signed included Gus Bilirakis; Christopher Smith; Doug Lamborn, Vickey Hartzler, Louie Gohmert, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Daniel Lipinski, Jamie Raskin, Sheila Jackson Lee, Juan Vargas and Chrissy Houlahan.
“Both Tony Perkins and Sen. Cruz said they were committed to keeping Leah’s release in the forefront of their mission, and we will see many other senators and congressmen join the letter as signers,” according to Faith McDonnel, an executive of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, who attended the meeting. “This letter is a great start!”
“The International Committee on Nigeria welcomes the growing advocacy on Capitol Hill for the release of Leah Sharibu and other schoolgirls kidnapped by Nigerian terrorists, and there is great hope stirring that the hundreds of thousands of Nigerian emigres in the United States are starting to speak up,” says Kyle Abts, co-founder of ICON and a sponsor of the rally Saturday. “It is encouraging that the current Administration is forward-leaning on religious freedom in Nigeria,” Abts added.
The mother of Leah Sharibu, along with Dr. Gloria Puldu, the president of the Leah Foundation, were surrounded by praying believers on Thursday, Oct. 24 in the Hart Senate Office building where Cruz and Tony Perkins, a commissioner on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) spoke in support. “Leah is a Christian. A Christian who refuses to renounce her faith and convert to Islam. And that is why she is still being held hostage by Boko Haram,” Cruz reportedly said at the meeting. “There is hope and there is power. A few voices like a candle in the dark of a cave can light the very darkest recesses. Our voices together are powerful.” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee attended the meeting and gave her condolences to Rebecca Sharibu.
Abts and other activists with ICON are urging the appointment of a special envoy to the Lake Chad Basin to coordinate the resources of all nations in the region in the wake of advances by Boko Haram in the eastern part of Nigeria, and vicious ethnic terrorism in the Middle Belt of that nation. The call for a special envoy to Nigeria was echoed by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo at an ICON sponsored press conference at the National Press Club on Oct. 14 and at the Wilson Center and the Hudson Institute the following day. Former President Obasanjo warned at all these meetings that Fulani-tribe terrorists and Boko Haram soldiers were combining in the state of Mali, nearby to Nigeria. He warned that if Fulani extremists and the Islamic State fighters of Boko Haram capture a failed state such as Libya then, “all nations north of the River Congo would be in trouble.”
The Prayer Vigil for Leah will be held at the U.S. Capitol, First Street SE, Washington, D.C at the reflecting pool on the West side of the Capitol at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26.
“Pity me and get me out of this serious situation”, Leah Sharibu.
Leah Sharibu remains in captivity. Since February 19th, when she was abducted by Boko Haram – specifically ISIS West Africa – until today she remains a heartache for Leah’s parents and a problem for President Buhari.
People question what Buhari is doing to release Leah Sharibu. Buhari was able to secure the release of the 109 Dapchi kidnapped victims, except Leah Sharibu. Why is he unable to release her?
Is Buhari not putting his full effort to seeing her release? Is he not able to negotiate with the terrorists? So, what do we know?
August 27th a short audio recording surfaced with Leah pleading, “I am calling on the government and people of goodwill to intervene to get me out of my current situation,” she said. “I am begging you to treat me with compassion. I am calling on the government, particularly the president, to pity me and get me out of this serious situation. Thank you.”
There are others who are in captivity with Leah, but are being killed by Boko Haram. Two aid workers were executed when the Federal Government did not meet the terrorists’ demands. Saifura Khosa and Hauwa Leman were kidnapped in March but were executed on September 18th and October 15th, respectively – they were working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Shamefully, it took Buhari eight months to finally speak to Leah’s parents and that was by a phone call on October 2nd. Buhari claimed that he will do all he can to secure her release and that no effort would be spared to ensure her rescue.
Then, on October 12th President Buhari seemed to be going into action when he sent a high-profile delegation to see Rebecca Sharibu in Dapchi. The activity in this area of Yobe State saw hundreds of armed troops (i.e. army, civil defense, mobile police, etc.), armed vehicles and helicopters which conveyed two security commanders and three ministers including the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
While there remains hope, the fact is she remains in captivity of Boko Haram – specifically ISIS West Africa. Leah’s parents (and her brother, Donald) continue to seek for her immediate release and for President Buhari and the Nigerian government to free her from Boko Haram.
Donald Trump reminded the world when he met with Nigeria’s President Buhari on April 30th in the Oval Office, that there is still one girl remaining in captivity. Many in Nigeria and in the international community want to know where she is and what is being done to release her.
International Committee On Nigeria (ICON)
PH: 404.988.0611 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Confirmed: Leah is Alive
Do not stop praying!
Because you have been praying and asking others to pray for her release we believe that she will be released soon. Leah’s parents confirmed to ICON today that it is, indeed, her in the picture and are relieved to discover that she is alive!
So, do not stop praying for her immediate release and the Buhari and the Nigerian government will act to free her from her Boko Haram captors.
Please, help us get the attention of your lawmakers.
Simply, click on the picture and complete the form – it’s that simple!
The International Committee On Nigeria (ICON) is asking you to Stand With Nigeria!
There can be no more excuses!
Now is the time to rise up and get behind an initiative that will bring change to Nigeria. We’re not merely talking about electing a suitable President but bringing lasting change and enduring hope.
In 2014, when Boko Haram kidnapped 219 Chibok girls, Nigerians exclaimed “Never again!”
It took 3 years to get 106 girls released and the world asks, “What about the remaining girls?” The government has shared nothing nor offered any hope to their release.
Then, in 2018, within a year of seeing a few of the freed Chibok girls, there was another attack and 110 girls were taken from a school in Dapchi. 5 girls tragically died and the government left behind 1 girl, her name is Leah Sharibu.
Why were over 100 girls released but there was 1 remaining? Is it because she was the only Christian? Is it because the government can’t negotiate with Boko Haram in an effective manner?
Meanwhile, Boko Haram continues to kidnap and abuse cities and villages throughout Northern Nigeria. Furthermore, why have the Fulani been allowed to increase their attacks across the Middle Belt without impediment?
Yet, with all the pronouncement and declarations of the Nigerian government there still remain unanswered questions:
- What are they doing to release the kidnapped girls, especially Leah Sharibu?
- What are they doing to protect their citizens from attacks?
- What can the Nigerian government do to protect citizens from further attacks?
Send an Email &/or a Tweet to your
Senators & Congressmen:
Copy this text and tell them:
“We want a Special Envoy to Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin, NOW, NOW!!!”
Send a tweet to your Congressmen: FIND ON TWITTER
Send a tweet to your Senators: FIND ON TWITTER
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ICON: This is a long time coming, as many have known this to be the case already, but it has not been acknowledged by the Federal Government. Please read the following article published by AP.
By SAM OLUKOYA (Jul. 26, 2018)
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria now faces a deadlier threat than its own Boko Haram insurgency, with fighting between farmers and herdsmen over scare resources killing far more people this year, a new report said Thursday.
The violence “threatens to become even deadlier” and could undermine national stability ahead of elections next year, the International Crisis Group report says, adding that the conflict “has taken on dangerous religious and ethnic dimensions.”
More than 1,300 Nigerians died from the farmer-herder conflicts in the first half of this year, while the death toll from the Nigeria-based Boko Haram’s insurgency was about 250.
The clashes are a growing security concern in Africa’s most populous country, which is roughly split between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south.
The herders, mainly Muslims from the Fulani ethnic group, and the mostly Christian farmers are fighting over land and water in Nigeria’s fertile central region. The threat from Boko Haram in the country’s north has pushed the herders south into more heavily populated areas in search of grazing land, while climate change is also a factor.
Nigerians were shocked last month when more than 200 people were killed after herdsmen invaded a number of villages in Plateau State. The government sent in counterterror units to end the bloodshed in one of the deadliest such confrontations this year.
The government of President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim former military ruler who won office in a democratic transfer of power in 2015, has not done enough to contain the conflict, the new report says.
Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu did not respond to requests for comment.
Tensions and violence have increasingly flared between herders and farmers with some estimates suggesting that in Nigeria alone up to 60,000 people have been killed in clashes since 2001.
Tensions between the Fulani, the majority of whom are Muslim, and farmers, of whom the majority in Nigeria for example are Christian, is largely driven by economic causes and low levels of peace.
Between 2010 and 2016, Fulani extremists were responsible for 466 terrorist attacks and 3,068 fatalities in four countries, as seen in Figure 5.2.
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