Joining the call made by the Northern States Christian Elders Forum (NOSCEF) on Monday to President Muhammadu Buhari to give the Christian community in the country a Christmas gift by ensuring the release of Leah Sharibu from what the forum described as “the brutal custody of Boko Haram,” the Archbishop of Lagos State, Most Rev. Alfred Martins, on Tuesday, also implored the president to work on fulfilling his promise of effecting the release of the young Sharibu so that she could reunite with her family and loved ones, as soon as possible.
Martins, in a statement signed by the Acting Director of Social Communications, Rev. Anthony Godonu, singled out the plight of Leah Sharibu. Sharibu is a young Christian girl who has remained in the hands of her Boko Haram abductors for over two years.
The cleric said her continuous incarceration remained a sore point in the celebration of the Yuletide. He, therefore, called on all Nigerians to remember her in their prayers as well as others in captivity of either Boko Haram or kidnappers.
“It is very sad that Leah Sharibu is still in detention for over two years for the single reason that she refused to jettison her Christian faith. It is a thing of pain, not only for her parents but for most people, especially because of the values she represents: loyalty to faith, dependability, focus, and maturity.
“It leaves a sour taste in the mouth and a dark mark on the celebration when one realises that she may not be able to join her family to celebrate Christmas again this year,” he said, adding that everyone must keep on insisting that the girl must not be forgotten.
The Most Revd. M.O. Dare of the First African Church Mission also called on Nigerians to embrace peace as they celebrate Christmas and remain patriotic because they do not have any other country. He pleaded with leaders in the nation to jettison selfishness and have Nigerians and the poor at heart and not just to focus on themselves and their families.
He reminded them that they should remember that one day, they would all appear before their Creator who put them in the position they are now and give account of themselves to Him. He told them to remember ‘death’ that they would die one day and after, according to the Bible, they would face the judgment of God. They should fear God who is able to kill and also cast to hell.
The Bishop of Lagos and Missioner, Humphrey Olumakaiye in his Christmas message called on Nigerians to know the importance of Christmas and celebrate it with the consciousness of peace that Jesus Christ brought into the world.
He noted that despite all the hardship and problems confronting Nigeria, there is hope in Christ, the Prince of Peace as Nigerians embrace Him, the gift of God to the World.