On this fateful date four years ago, Islamist militant group Boko Haram ambushed Government Girls' Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State, and abducted 110 schoolgirls aged 11-19 years. One month later, with the exception of five schoolgirls who unfortunately passed away during the incident, Boko Haram released the remaining 104 students who were safely reunited with their families. However, one lone Christian girl was not included in the group of freed girls.
Then-14-year-old Leah Sharibu had bravely and repeatedly objected her captors' demands to renounce Christianity and convert to Islam; her released peers informed that Leah's unwavering devotion to her faith was the reason that Boko Haram refused to free her. Now, four years later, Leah is soon 19 years old and has had stolen from her the final years of her adolescence and the initial year of her adulthood in captivity, during which she has been forced to marry a Boko Haram commander and has given birth to two children.
Jubilee Campaign was relieved to learn in October 2021 that Leah is alive and healthy, but we remain devastated at her continued captivity on the basis of her faith and resilience. We are also further disheartened at the Nigerian government's reluctance and/or inability to rescue Leah and return her to her grieving family. In December 2021, Dr. Gloria Puldu, Executive Director of Leah Foundation, delivered a message on behalf of Leah's family:
"Thank you very much for your concern. Let me tell you how the family has agreed to spend this Christmas. They said they were tired of speaking, crying and pleading with the government of Buhari, which is deaf to every call. So it is agreed that they should remain silent and just call for continued prayers. They said they were tired of routine calls, which hurt so much that they had to just call on anyone who wished to stand with them to do so only in prayers."
In respect to the family's wishes, we ask that today, 19 February, you keep Leah in your thoughts and prayers.