Abuja — The Presidency yesterday vowed to secure the release of the lone Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, still being held by Boko Haram terrorists for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement in Abuja, said the Muhammadu Buhari administration would not relent in its efforts to bring the girl safely home to her parents as it had done for the other captives.
The statement further said the President was conscious of his duty under the constitution to protect all Nigerians, irrespective of faith, ethnic background or geopolitical location and would not shirk this responsibility.
It reads in part: "The President is equally mindful of the fact that true followers of Islam all over the world respect the injunction that there is no compulsion in religion.
"To this effect, no one or group can impose its religion on another.
"His heart goes out to the isolated parents who must watch others rejoice while their own daughter is still away."
Buhari also assured the Sharibu family that he would continue to do all he can to ensure that they also have cause to rejoice with their daughter soon.
However, the President in far away Gusau, the Zamfara State capital, directed security agencies to improve their strategies of intelligence gathering, surveillance and accuracy in deployments with a view to ensuring that criminal activities were brought to an end across in the country.
Accompanied by the host governor, Abdul'aziz Yari, at an interactive section with political leaders, traditional rulers, elders and victims of criminal attacks in the state, Buhari assured all security agencies of improved conditions that would facilitate the arrest of criminals nationwide.
He said: "As far as I am concerned, our security agencies have recorded some successes, but they need to do much more. They are not to oppress anyone, but are to gather and send intelligence and warnings when something is about to happen."
His spokesman, Femi Adesina, said the President commended the security agencies for eliminating a dreadful criminal, "Buhari general", who had for many years initiated killings and destruction of property.
"Before "Buharin-daji", who calls himself a general, there was a criminal who killed many people and he was killed; "Buharin-daji" has followed him and others like them should also follow," he added.
The President said the threats to lives and property will be significantly reduced with improved relations among community leaders, citizens and the security agencies.
He warned that the ongoing war against corruption would be reinvigorated and sustained until public officers, who abuse their positions, face the wrath of the law.
Buhari informed his audience that confiscated property from tainted public officials would be sold out at the end of court proceedings.
Yari, who is also the Chairman of Nigerian Governors' Forum, said the state government had deployed resources to fight criminal activities.
Also, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, says the current administration will, henceforth, be decisive with those hiding under religion to perpetrate crimes.
He gave the warning yesterday in Abuja at the opening of the 2018 first quarter meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC).
He said: "Religion is an instrument for building national harmony and peaceful co-existence, and this government is committed to fairness, irrespective of ethnicity or religion."