Leah Sharibu is a 15-year old Nigerian girl. She was abducted when Boko Haram stormed a boarding school in the town of Dapchi, Diocese of Maiduguri in north-eastern Nigeria on 19 February 2018 kidnapping 110 school girls. Within a month after their abduction, some of the girls reportedly died in captivity and all the others were released except Leah. Those who were released reported that Leah was held back because she refused to renounce her faith.

She was the only Christian in the group and the terrorists had forced her to convert to Islam but she refused.

Recently, the terrorist group released a video threatening to keep Leah has a “slave for life”.

Her refusal to renounce her faith in Christ made her father, Nathan proud.

He said, “The confidence and faith of my daughter in the face of death in the hands of Boko Haram, to say she will never denounce Christ, made me realise that I had been living with a strong follower of Christ in my house. I am highly encouraged by her strong faith in the Lord.” Leah’s mother, Rebeccah has asked for continued prayers for Leah, saying, “I know that all over the world believers are praying and advocating for the release of my daughter, but until now I haven’t seen my Leah. I want to plead that Christians: do not get tired of praying for her till she returns.”                    

Mgr Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Jos Ecclesiastical Province under which the Diocese of Maiduguri falls, has also added his voice to this call for prayer. During his visit to Malta for the Launch of the Religious Freedom in the World Report, he made a strong call for prayer for these teenage girls and all others held captive for their faith.

He said,

“I invite you all to pray for Leah and all those who are held captive for their refusal to renounce the faith. She stands out as very courageous in preserving her Christian faith and identity. She chose to remain a Christian even in the face of death. We need to pray for these young girls as they must be traumatised and in great danger in the hands of the terrorists”.

Apart from the school girls, an estimated 2,000 other women, girls and young men remain in Boko Haram captivity. Captives are forced to convert, married off to militants and those who refuse, suffer extreme violence.

ACN Malta