Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) has issued 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 terrorist attack on a Kaduna-Abuja train.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko made the in a statement yesterday, saying failure to secure the release of the lady who has been in captivity for about five months now will attract a severe legal tussle.
The group disclosed that it would hesitate to sue the federal government 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.
HURIWA in the statement recalled that about 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 because she doggedly defended her Christian faith and refused to denounce same.
Onwubiko while recalling that ISWAP also threatened to keep Leah “slave for life”, said, Tukur Mamu, terrorist negotiator, disclosed on Friday that a top bandit commander planned “to marry Lois, who is said to be the youngest victim of the train attack.”
According to Mamu in the statement, 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.”
However, HURIWA described the report by Tukur Mamu, as unsavoury and should not be taken lightly.
“HURIWA gives the federal government 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 despoliation”, the statement read in part.