By Ehi Ekhator
Leah Sharibu, one of the girls who was kidnapped by the dreaded Boko Haram in Dapchi, has been abandoned in captivity by the Nigerian government.
The Federal Government of Nigeria negotiated the release of the girls but Boko Haram withheld Leah over her refusal to renounce her Christian faith.
On 19 February 2018, The terrorist group dressed like soldiers headed the girls into trucks and disappeared with it. In March, the government negotiated their return but received a little more than 100 students.
Amnesty International reported that more than four of the girls who refused to renounce their Christian faith were never returned to their parents.
Usman Mataba’s niece was among the girls who returned. Mataba said “I approached them and they told me that they had brought all the girls except six – that five had died on the day they were taken,” he said.
“They said they discovered they were dead when they arrived at their destination, so they buried them.”
He revealed that five out of the girls were trampled to death while the sixth “refused to cooperate” with them.
One of the girls was Leah who remains the terrorist’s prisoner. A report says she is suffering horrendously.
Leah’s mother, Rebecca Sharibu disclosed that Boko Haram have tried to force her to recite the Quran to gain her freedom but she has refused.
Although rarely mentioned in the mainstream media, Christians are among the most persecuted minorities in the world, particularly in Nigeria.
Millions of Christians are fleeing their homelands and thousands are being martyred particularly across the Middle East and parts of Africa.
For example, in northern Nigeria’s Maiduguri Diocese, Islamist Boko Haram’s mass killing and other violence have caused 1.8 million people to be displaced and left 5,000 widows and 15,000 orphans.
- In June of this year, as many as 200 Christians were murdered and over 3000 displaced in the villages surrounding Jos in Plateau state.
- Reports from local Christian leaders have said that as many as 6,000 people, mostly women and children, have been killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen since the start of the year.
Ann Kioko, an African campaigner, is working hard on the ground and has put her personal safety at risk to meet with Leah’s mother who confirmed that, “Boko Haram did not release my daughter because [she] refused to abandon her faith to embrace the Muslim religion…”
Rebecca told Ann Kioko, she is hopeful because so many people, especially the CitizenGO signers, are on board. And just last week, local NGOs (including the Red Cross) made public promises that they are negotiating for Leah to be released soon, but there is no definite time. So far though, there has been no commitment from Nigerian Government officials about Leah’s release.