Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Saturday gave the Federal Government a 24- hour ultimatum to secure the release of Azurfa Lois John, a 21-year-old Christian lady and one of the kidnapped victims of the March 28, 2022 terrorist attack on a Kaduna-Abuja train.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, noted that failure to secure the release of the lady who has been in captivity for about five months now will attract a severe legal tussle as the group won’t hesitate to sue the FG and report the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
The group warned that the case of Lois must not become another Leah Sharibu who has been in captivity since February 19, 2018 when Islamic State West Africa Province fighters attacked the Government Girls Science and Technical School in Dapchi, Yobe State.
At least 110 young and impressionable schoolgirls were abducted and whilst others were later released after payment of heavy ransom, Leah Sharibu was not released but was reportedly married off to a fighter of because she doggedly defended her Christian faith and refused to denounce same. ISWAP also threatened to keep Leah “slave for life”.
Recall that on Friday, Tukur Mamu, terrorist negotiator and so-called media consultant to controversial Islamic cleric and bandit-sympathiser, Ahmad Gumi, said a top bandit commander planned to marry Lois, who is said to be “the youngest victim of the train attack”.
Mamu also said the terrorists threatened to do to Lois the same thing they had done to Leah should her parents and the government fail to pay a N100 million ransom to secure her release like that of other hostages whose families and friends have been paying N100 million to get freed.
“This is to alert the Federal Government and especially the Christian Association of Nigeria that we can confirm through credible information at our disposal that if urgent action is not taken to immediately secure the release of the youngest victim of the train attack, a 21-year-old Azurfa Lois John, the abductors as they have done in the case of Leah Sharibu, are planning to marry her any moment from now.
“One of the top commanders is said to be in love with her. This important information should be treated with the urgency it deserves,” the terrorist negotiator reportedly said.
Commenting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The report by Tukur Mamu, so-called media consultant to controversial Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, is unsavoury and should not be taken lightly.
“HURIWA gives the Federal Government of Nigeria 24 hours to secure the release of 21-year-old Azurfa Lois John, said to be the only young Christian victim and lady among the hostages. The government must take both non-kinetic and kinetic actions (as attested to by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu) to secure her prompt release.
“The threat by ISWAP fighters to marry off Lois to one of their top commanders is a testament to longstanding belief that terrorists are advancing the agenda of Islam and are untouchable but tolerated by the present Fulani government hence their multiplication and continued despoilation.
“The regime of President Muhammadu Buhari failed Leah Sharibu. It must not fail Azurfa Lois John. Nigerians won’t take another slap on the Christian community. The Christian Association of Nigeria and persons of noble conscience must exert pressure on Federal Government to secure the release of Lois as soon as possible.
“HURIWA is by this statement putting the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom on notice of the religious violations going on under President Buhari and the allegedly conspiratorial silence of the northern elite.
“The religious oppression under President Buhari is alarming and Nigerians and the Christian community in the country especially won’t fold their hands to watch this repression and despicable act to continue. Christians will use every legal instrument available within and outside the country to fight the development until Lois and Leah are freed.”
August 20, 2022
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).