CSW will mark kidnappped Nigerian Christian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu’s 17th birthday with an online prayer event at 8.30pm (SA / Central African Time) tonight (Thursday May 14).
Leah was the sole Christian among 110 schoolgirls abducted by the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) faction of Boko Haram from their school in Dapchi, Yobe state, Nigeria on 19 February 2018.
While her surviving classmates returned a month later following government negotiations, she was denied her freedom for refusing to convert as a precondition for release.
Leah has been in captivity ever since. In February, her mother Rebecca Sharibu joined a protest outside the Nigerian High Commission in London to mark the second anniversary of her daughter’s abduction. She delivered a petition with 12 132 signatures to the High Commission, calling on the Nigerian government to take action to secure her daughter’s release.
Today’s online prayer event will feature contributions from Reverend Yunusa Nmadu, Matt Redman, Pete Greig, and others. CSW has also released a video to mark Leah’s birthday in which individuals around the world share the impact that her story has had on them.
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “For the third time Leah will be marking her birthday as a captive. This brave girl is an example to all of us as she continues to stay true to her Christian faith and refuses to renounce her faith. We continue to call on the Nigerian government to do everything in its power to secure her swift release, and that of other captives held by both Boko Haram factions, including the remaining Chibok girls. We also urge the international community to raise her case with Nigeria at every opportunity and to offer assistance to counter the continuing threat posed by armed non-state actors in the country.”