On Thursday, a group of northern Christian leaders visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja.
The leaders under the aegis of Arewa Pastors Non-denominational Initiative for Peace (APNIP) in Nigeria discussed a wide range of issues with the president.
Expressing satisfaction with his performance, the religious leaders vowed to expose those working against him within the Christain fold.
However, while the discussion moved from the president’s health to economy, anti-graft war and hate speech, not a word was mentioned about Leah Sharibu, at least from excerpts of the meeting which was released.
Sharibu is the only Christian among the 110 students of Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe state, abducted by Boko Haram on February 19.
Apart from five of her colleagues who reportedly died in captivity, the insurgents released all the captives. Sharibu rejected the condition given for her to be free. When asked to renounce her Christain faith, she dared her abductors.
Among the groups which have mounted pressure on the federal government over Sharibu is the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).
During Easter, the Christain Association of Nigeria (CAN) organised prayers for the lone schoolgirl. Many churches also offered prayers on her behalf.
But the Yobe representative of APNIP did not seize the opportunity of being with Buhari to draw attention to Sharibu’s plight.
John Richard, leader of the delegation, told their host that they had archbishops and bishops from the 19 northern states, over 45,000 registered pastors, and millions of followers.
While thanking God for the president’s health, Richard said, “We congratulated ourselves also because during your health challenge we knowing you to be the Godsent timely leader to rescue and restore Nigeria back to her pride, fasted and prayed with over one thousand archbishops, bishops, pastors and evangelist for God to show you mercy and heal you.
“Your Excellency, we the 19 northern states pastors came together in unity to speak with one voice to crusade for peace, reconciliation and national unity of our great country Nigeria which you have already started.”
Richard also asked the president to support the group for a “peace and unity national delegate prayer congress” scheduled for the Eagle Square, Abuja on April 26, 2018.