Deadline for Release of Nigeria Schoolgirl Leah Sharibu Approaches, Anxiety Rises
As the deadline approaches for the release of the last schoolgirl who was captured by Boko Haram, Christians in Nigeria are praying for her safe release.
Leah Sharibu, 15, was taken with more than 100 other schoolmates in February. The students were all released except for Sharibu, and in September, the terrorist group Boko Haram threatened to kill her.
Boko Haram abducted 112 girls from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College Dapchi. Of the 112 girls, six died during captivity, one escaped, and 104 were released in March following negotiations with the Nigerian government.
Sharibu has refused to renounce her faith.
“I am calling on the government and people of goodwill to intervene to get me out of my current situation,” Sharibu said in an audio clip.
“I am begging you to treat me with compassion. I am calling on the government, particularly the president, to pity me and get me out of this serious situation. Thank you.”
Last week, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria Rev. Yakubu Pam and the Chief Iman of Apo Legislative Quarters, Sheikh Mohammed Khalid, held a press conference and asked Boko Harm to release the teen “for God’s sake.”
“We heard they said next week is their deadline and that is why in this meeting as we are discussing the peace of this country, we felt that it is very important and very paramount to talk about this matter,” Pam said.
“The mother is in agony, the family is in agony and we are appealing to their conscience. Whatever it is, let them be lenient and also allow God to speak to their heart.
Some of the rescued schoolgirls have reported that Sharibu kept saying, “I am a Christian” to the terrorists as they asked her to deny her faith in order to be released.
“Leah’s testimony is an inspirational one,” said Gideon Para-Mallam, a leader of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students. “It is a defining moment of what Christians are going through in Nigeria.”