A Nigerian cleric and spokesman of the Sharibu family has reacted to rumours making the rounds that Leah Sharibu, the Christian school girl held captive by Boko Haram for refusing to convert to Islam, had given birth to baby boy for a boko haram commander and had subsequently converted to Islam.

Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam, speaking with Aid to the Church in Need in an interview held that these must be false claims or a situation of rape and forced conversion.

“How can a 17 year old girl, abducted when she was 14 consent to bearing a child for her abductors? This can only be as a result of rape. I would not believe that Leah at that age would consent to become a mother. If they forced her and raped her, we cannot say that she consented”, he said.

Also commenting on the rumour that Leah had converted to Islam, Rev. Para-Mallam added:

“We know that Leah decided to remain where she is because of the convictions of her Christian faith. If Leah had wanted to become a muslim in order to gain her freedom, she would have simply denied Christ and be set free on the 21st of March 2018 but Leah refused. So if she refused and went back on account of her Christian faith, it defies all logic to say that now she has become a muslim.

“Again, its forced conversion and it cannot stand. We need to continue to work and to pray for Leah to be set free. Everyday reminds me that we have a precious soul that has been denied her freedom, her fundamental human right”.

Leah Sharibu was kidnapped along with 109 other students on February 19, 2018 when Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, Maiduguri Diocese, in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah. Those who were released testified that Leah was the only Christian of the group and the terrorists had forced her to convert to Islam, but she had refused.