150 Days: Christians in UK, Nigeria Hold Protests Demanding Boko Haram Release 15-Y-O Girl

Leah Sharibu campaign by Christian Solidarity Worldwide in July 2018 calling for the Christian girl's freedom.
Leah Sharibu campaign by Christian Solidarity Worldwide in July 2018 calling for the Christian girl's freedom. | (Screenshot: Christian Solidarity Worldwide)

Christians in the U.K. and Nigeria held a protest on Wednesday to mark the 150 days that have passed since a 15-year-old Christian girl was kidnapped along with 110 others by the Islamic radical group Boko Haram in Nigeria. 

The girl, Leah Sharibu, is the only person among that group who's still being held captive by the terrorists because she refuses to renounce her faith in Jesus Christ.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide, which says that Sharibu "paid the price" for her faith with her freedom, is calling on Christians worldwide to pray and take action by staging protests demanding the teenager's safe return to her family. 

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One such protest took place at the Nigerian High Commission in London on Wednesday, with Christians praying and holding signs in support of Sharibu. 

"It's very important to remember that this isn't just a protest — this is prayer and protest. CSW believes in those two things going together," CSW CEO Mervyn Thomas told Premier in an article on Wednesday.

"So we're hoping first of all that God will answer prayer but we're also hoping that the Nigerian government will take action," Thomas added.

In February, Sharibu became one of the thousands of women and children Boko Haram has kidnapped in its raids in the African country.

Her mother, Rebecca Sharibu, told persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA in April that she's proud of her daughter.

"I know God will never forsake her. When she went away to school, I gave her a copy of the Bible so she could have her personal devotions even when I am not there. As her mother, I know her to be an obedient daughter, respectful and someone who puts others before herself," the mother said at the time.

Nigerian celebrities, such as veteran singer Onyeka Onwenu, have also been making pleas to President Muhammadu Buhari to do more to find and rescue Sharibu.

"President Buhari, I urge you to use every influence, every avenue to put pressure on Boko Haram to release Leah Sharibu who chose to remain loyal to Jesus Christ and every other person held in captivity," Onwenu pleaded on Facebook.

"Leah is a straight 'A' student, I am begging Boko Haram to please in the name of all that is good, release every captive let them live, let Nigeria live," the singer added.

"I also call on President Buhari to be inspired by the successful rescue mission of the Thai boys to do the same to rescue children held by Boko Haram."

On Tuesday, International Christian Concern shared a letter from Sharibu's father, Nathan, who said: "There is still no news about our daughter. We need help from whosoever to mount pressure on the federal government of Nigeria to do whatever it can to get our daughter released."

ICC's Regional Manager, Nathan Johnson, urged the Buhari administration against giving up on Sharibu and other kidnapped schoolgirls ahead of the 2019 political elections.

"We, as the concerned international community, must continue to work on behalf of Leah and the other Chibok girls still in captivity. We must not let people forget the danger and suffering that these courageous young women are facing daily," Johnson added.

Nigeria's Christian associations have warned that there would be a "religious war" should Sharibu be killed by the Islamists.

"Leah Sharibu must not die. Her death, God forbids, can spell doom for Nigeria. It can give an open invitation to religious war because Leah is being detained purely because of her religion," Adebayo Oladeji, special assistant on media and communications, to the Christian Association of Nigeria President, said in May. 

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

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