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British MP protests Leah Sharibu’s captivity

West & Central Africa

British MP protests Leah Sharibu’s captivity

Tom Brake,  a member of the British Parliament has carried out a protest outside the Nigerian embassy in London to demand the release of 15 year old Leah Sharibu, the only schoolgirl still in captivity by the Al Barnawi faction of Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group for refusing to convert to Islam.

Leah Sharibu

109 of her friends, abducted together with leah, were released when the Nigerian government negotiated and paid the ransom for the release of the schoolgirls kidnapped in Dapchi Secondary school in February this year but Leah was refused her freedom because of her faith, her classmates said.

Tom Brake, a Liberal Democrat MP said “There cannot be a clearer example of someone whose human rights are being ignored than that of Leah who is being detained just because she has maintained her Christian faith,” Brake told CNN.

Brake’s #freeleah campaign is part of the protest organised by Church World Service (CWS) which will last for 200. Thursday 6 September marks 200 days since the kidnap of leah who celebrated her 15th birthday in captivity.

CWS has placed a school desk in front of the Nigerian High commission with Sharibu’s portrait where members of the Advocacy group will take turns to seat for 200 hours.

Boko Haram had released a recording of the Leah’s voice pleading with President Muhammadu Buhari to have pity on her and secure her release. Her father Nathan said he was happy when he heard the recorded voice and saw the picture posted by the terror group because it was the only proof that she is still alive. Nathan said though he is heartbroken that his daughter is still in captivity but is nevertheless proud that she will not renounce her faith. 

Protester on a school desk

He expressed his appreciation to Christians all over the world who are constantly praying and thanked international campaign organisations who are advocating Leah’s release. “I am very happy the way Christians around the world have been standing by Leah. This man (Brake) has not met my daughter or her family before, and he is calling for her release. We are so grateful,” Nathan said.

Garba Shehu, President Buhari’s Media assistant, after the release of Leah’s recorded voice by Boko Haram, said President Buhari “will not rest until all of them are freed.”

While the advocacy for the release of Leah is still going on, there are still over 100 Chibok schoolgirls of the 276 abducted in April 2014, by the Abubakar Shekau’s faction of the Islamic terrorist Boko Haram sect that have not been accounted for, though reports said only about 30 are still alive and held by Boko Haram. The Islamic terrorist have kidnapped over 1000 children and used many, as young as 10 for suicide bombings across the region.

The radical Islamic Jihadi group, with a mission to institute Islamic sharia governance in Nigeria, had set out to destroy churches and schools which it believes are agents of adulterating Islam in the country. Boko Haram has destroyed over 1000 churches and killed over 200, 000 people, predominantly Christians in Nigeria since it launched its insurgency in 2008.

 

Hassan john is West Africa editor GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos

Image Credits: Google Images/Tom Brake/protester at Parliament/Leah’s picture by her parents.

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