Nigeria: Call for prayer and fasting for Leah Shabiru

Leah Sharibu, a Christian girl from Dapchi, Nigeria, was one of 110 girls abducted by the terrorist group Boko Haram on 19 February. Five girls died while been transported to the terrorists’ hideaway and 104 girls were released in March. However, Leah remains captive. She has been held back for refusing to renounce her faith in exchange for freedom.

Her mother, Rebecca, was told that Leah had already boarded the vehicle bound for Dapchi along with others, but was told to disembark after refusing to recite the Islamic profession of faith: “They said my daughter would only be brought back home the day she knows how to recite Kalima shahada.”

Leah has still not returned home. Calls have been issued for her immediate release, and the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), the church to which Leah and her family belong, has called for three days of prayer and fasting for Leah from 27-29 April.

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said: “Our prayers are with Leah and her family as they await her return. Given Nigeria’s ethnic and religious diversity, we remain perplexed at her apparent exclusion, on account of her religious beliefs, from the deal that secured the release of the other girls. There must be no let-up in pressure being brought to bear on the militants holding her. CSW also continues to call on the Nigerian government to ensure that every child is free to pursue an education without fear.”