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Nigeria: Christian leaders pray for freedom of girl held captive for refusing to renounce her Christian faith

For information about Orthodox Christianity in Nigeria, see here.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Nigeria from, see here.

“Christian leaders pray for Leah Sharibu’s freedom,” by Friday Olokor, Punch, February 19, 2023:

Emotions flew on Sunday at the Church of Christ in Nations in Abuja during the special prayer session to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Leah Sharibu in the captivity of Boko Haram.

At the event, Christian leaders and members of Leah Sharibu’s family intensified their demands for the release of their abducted daughter.

The PUNCH reported that Leah Sharibu was one of the 110 female students of the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, in Yunusari Local Government Area of Yobe State, who were abducted on February 19, 2018, by Boko Haram terrorists.

While others were released by the terrorists following negotiations, Leah, then 14 years, is still being held captive because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.

Five of the girls died on the day of the abduction while the rest were released in March 2018 leaving Sharibu behind because she refused to abandon her Christian faith.

Before the Dapchi schoolgirls were abducted, 276 girls from a school in Chibok, Borno State were abducted by Boko Haram in 2014.

The President of Christian Association of Nigeria, Daniel Okoh, in his keynote address at the event organized by Leah Foundation and Gideon and Funmi Para-Mallam Foundation, said Leah’s story had become metaphor for all those currently being held in captivity by Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in Nigeria.

At the event, the founder of Leah Foundation and Spokesperson of her parents, Dr. Gloria Puldu, said it was a shame that Nigerians were still calling on the government five years later to secure the release of Leah and others in captivity.

She called on the presidential candidates contesting Saturday’s election to make a clear statement on what they will do to secure Leah’s release if elected.

While describing the government’s attitude as a broken promise, she said, “They have given us a promise five years ago that they are going to release Leah but down the lane, it has not been fulfilled. They have less than 100 days in office to go and for us, as far as we are concerned it is a broken promises, but they said they still have science….

The CAN President represented by the President and CEO of Gideon and Funmi Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam, lamented that the Christian community had made several appeals both to her captors and the Federal Government to ensure her safe return but all to no avail.

Okoh said, “It is also a testament to the power of faith and courage in the face of adversity that is synonymous to the Christian faith. It is a tragic reminder of the reality of religious persecution going on in the country. This year marks five years since the horrific event took place and Leah is still in captivity. Leah Sharibu’s case is just one out of the numerous cases of faith-based persecution going on in Nigeria almost on a daily basis….

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