Advocates Sue Nigerian Government for Release of Christian Girl Captured by Boko Haram

The Nigerian government should urgently secure the release of a Christian schoolgirl that Boko Haram terrorists have threatened to imminently kill because of her faith, an advocacy group said in a Nigerian federal lawsuit.

Lift Up Now, led by Southern Baptist Nigerian native Adeniya Ojutiku of Raleigh, N.C., is one of three plaintiffs in the Sept. 19 lawsuit urging Nigeria to secure the release of Leah Sharibu, described in court documents as 16 years old.

Boko Haram captured Sharibu and about 110 of her classmates Feb. 19 from the Government Girls Secondary School in the Yobe state town of Dapchi in northeast Nigeria. The terror group refused to release her with her classmates a month later reportedly because she would not renounce her Christian faith.

The legal action came after Boko Haram killed 25-year-old midwife Saifura Khorsa of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), kidnapped six months ago from the Rann Camp for internally displaced persons in Borno. Boko Haram released a video Sept. 17 of insurgents killing Khorsa, and threatened to kill other captives including Sharibu, if the government did not respond to the terrorists’ unspecified demands.

Other groups, including the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Nigeria, have also advocated for Sharibu’s release.

Nigeria’s national attorney general and inspector general of police, defendants in the case, are dutifully bound to protect Sharibu’s right to life, Ojutiku said in the lawsuit, joined by co-plaintiffs Rebecca Sharibu and Daniel David Kadzai, identified as Leah Sharibu’s friends.

Leah Sharibu’s “freedom of thought and conscience, religion and right against every form of discrimination” are at stake, the suit maintains. In addition to Sharibu’s freedom from her captors, the suit seeks 500 million naira, the equivalent of about $1.3 million dollars in compensation for the schoolgirl’s “indignities and human deprivation suffered” because of the “defendants’ dereliction of statutory duties in securing her release from her captors” since her kidnapping.

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Source: Baptist Press