Boko Haram a Nigerian militant group refused to return a school girl, Leah Sharibu because she refused to renounce Christianity. After the group abducted the Dapchi schoolgirls, as a result of Nigerian government’s negotiation the militant group returned the abducted girls to their families however held-on to Leah Sharibu. On February 19, Boko Haram abducted 110 school girls.
After five weeks when the girls returned from the captivity revealed that Leah was held back, because she refused to convert to Islam. During captivity, five students perished. Father Ralph Madu, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, (CBCN) said that kidnappings, death of the five Dapchi students and Leah Sharibu’s captivity are all blatant cues that it has become difficult for Christians to survive in Nigeria.
Father Ralph Madu said: “The 15-year old Leah has indeed become a symbol of the suffering, persecution, challenges and intimidation Christians face daily in Nigeria for expressing their faith especially in public”. In this regard, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, (CBCN) has urged the Nigerian government to step up its efforts to secure release of Leah Sharibu.
“We use this medium to appeal to the Federal Government (of Nigeria) to go the extra mile in re-negotiating the unconditional release of Leah without further delay,” Father Ralph Madu. Leah’s father, Father of Leah, Nathaniel Sharibu, who himself is a Police officer has pleaded with the Nigerian government to secure his daughter’s release before Easter.
Nathaniel Sharibu, a congregant of the ‘Evangelical Church Winning All’ said: “I am very sad, but I am also jubilating because my daughter did not renounce her faith.”
“I really have nothing much to say now except that Leah is not yet back to join the rest of the family. Till now I have not heard anything and no authority has told me anything about the whereabouts of Leah. Only my loved ones were calling to congratulate me that my daughter is on the way home. But until now I have not seen anything yet,” he stated.
“It’s very sad if we are going to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ without Leah. It will be very unfortunate but I know that with the prayers going on across the globe I believe she will join us before the Easter proper”, Nathaniel said.