By David Pam McQuel
Leah Sharibu 15 Years Old’s Triumph of Faith.
This unfortunate captivity of Leah Sharibu is unacceptable to Christians, to Nigeria, to all true freedom loving people of the world and to the modern civilization.
Azuka Onwuka’s op-ed in the Nigerian Punch newspaper, The trial of Leah Sharibu, the sacrificial lamb”, When the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls were returned last week by Boko Haram terrorists , a new story developed from the kidnap saga.
Excluding the five dead girls that did not make it back, only one girl named Leah Sharibu was not brought back by the terrorists . The reason given was that she refused to renounce Christianity and convert to Islam . Consequently, Boko Haram members refused to release her.”
The BBC gave an account of the abduction. “Militants stormed the town on the evening of Monday, 19 February. They headed towards the compound of a girls’ boarding school as they fired guns into the air.
Fatima Awaal, 13, who was not abducted, told the BBC early in March that the attackers wore military fatigues and sandals. She claims they were bearded and had turbans on their heads. Awaal managed to evade capture but her best friend was not as lucky.”
One of the freed girls, Zulai, told the BBC she recalls hearing a “loud explosion” when the militants arrived.
“When they came in we heard a very loud explosion, we thought it was an electrical transformer that got blown. They entered through the main gate so we were scared and we started running for safety,” she said.
“They covered us and started putting us in their vehicles and drove away. Five of the girls died along the way.”
Many of the girls and teachers scattered into the surrounding bush. Yagana, who was also released, told the BBC that she stopped running after Boko Haram militants threatened her life.
“We were totally confused. Some Boko Haram people entered through a school gate and we started to run through another gate but they told us to stop running or they would shoot us,” Yagana said.
“Then we stopped and they asked us to get into trucks. We started getting into one truck and they took us away.”
In August 2016 , Boko Haram under its new leader , Abu Musab al- Barnawi, vowed not to attack mosques , Muslims or markets used by ordinary Muslims anymore, like Abubakar Shekau did, but to concentrate on attacking churches and Christians . The refusal to release Leah is in line with that .
The BBC went as well published the odd flamboyant defiant return of the girls by Boko Haram, which convinced many Nigerians and observers that the abductors have been heavily paid.
“In the early hours of Wednesday, Boko Haram militants drove into the Nigerian town of Dapchi and released the majority of the schoolgirls they had abducted more than a month before.
The government says 106 children – 104 schoolgirls, a girl who did not go to the school, and a boy – were freed. It denied claims that a ransom was exchanged to secure the girls’ release.
News of the girls’ return led to celebration in the town, although five girls are reported to have died. The only Christian girl of the group is still in captivity. Parents told AFP that Boko Haram would release her if she converted to Islam, which she refuses to do.”
The Nigeria reponse of the Nigeria Church is encapsulated in Ben Agande’s article on the Vanguard, entitled “Rescue Leah Sharibu now, Northern Christian group begs Buhari.”
The Congress of Northern Nigeria Christians, CNNC, Monday called on President Muhammad Buhari to do all within his powers to rescue Miss Leah Sharibu, the only Christian girl yet-to- be released by Boko Haram insurgents after the Dapchi school girls’ abduction.
However, instead of seeing the audasity of courage and conviction boldly manifested by Leah, a 15 year old Christian school girl, some people who have no understanding of the Christian faith, who they themselves are mere church goers would rather bash her and accuse her of arrogance or playing a super girl.
Azuka added argued, But the unfortunate angle is the blame heaped on little Leah instead of the Boko Haram people that abducted her in the first place and wanted her to renounce her faith and adopt their own faith to gain her freedom . It is the typical Nigerian attitude of blaming the victim instead of the oppressor and pointing out all the wrong things the victim did that caused his or her plight.
It is the choice of Leah to decide not to renounce her faith in the face of trouble, including death . It is not foolishness. Martin Luther King Jnr said : “If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live .” Wisdom does not start and end in one renouncing what one stands for to save one ’s neck. Being alive is not the most important aspect of life.
Interestingly , the father of Leah , Nathan Sharibu , said he was proud that his daughter did not renounce her faith even at the risk of death . So why are those not related to the girl and do not feel the pain of her abduction acting the role of the outsiders who cry more than the bereaved?
It is no small thing for a FIFTEEN YEARS OLD haven’t suffered a horrible abduction wherein 5 of her school mates lost their lives, and with the background of the 2014 abduction by the same group of nearly 300 girls of which about 111 are yet to see freedom, yet she stands her ground for her faith and insist that she will not denounce Christ!
It is very commendable in the sight of God!
We know she stands the risk of rape, torture, forced marriage, abuse, molestation, nightmares and psychological breakdown. And Leah, no doubt is aware of this. Yet she chose to stand her ground for Jesus.
This is parallel to the story in Daniel, where Nebuchadnezzar made a golden image and commanded all nations to bow to it or risk been burnt alive. Many Jews did bow. But 3 young adults, Hananiah; Mishael; and Azariah would not bow. Daniel 3:14-16
Of course, they were thrown to the flames, but God subdued the flames.
A few years later, Daniel himself defied Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, his son when the king was tricked into making a law that will destroy his most reliable and trusted administrator.
Daniel defied the law and prayed to God as usual. He was thrown into the lions’ den. And yes, of course, God delivered Daniel.
Here, Leah Sharibu has chosen this same path, to stand for her faith and defy the dreaded Boko Haram. Her faith in Christ is worth much more than her life.
We pray that she survives. But if she doesn’t come back alive, she will be one of God’s precious angels, wearing a golden crown with many dazzling starts when Christ Our king returns.
And her parents, Mr. And Mrs. Nathan Sharibu will forever be remembered as the excellent example of Godly parents who brought up their daughter as the best example of a Christian teen.
While they grief and groan, waiting for her return, their joy is overflowing that she has not renounced Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.
When she returns, she will deserve an international scholarship by any of the finest Christian Universities in the world.
We pray O Lord, that you strengthen her heart and mind and renew her spirit with your presence. That these terrorists will be touched by her commitment to you.


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