Prayer vigil for Christian schoolgirl on her sixteenth birthday held captive in Nigeria

Today marks the sixteenth birthday and 449 days in captivity of Christian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu who was abducted in Nigeria in February, 2018.

Leah was taken captive along with over one-hundred other girls at her school in Dapchi, Nigeria by the Boko Haram extremist military group last year.

The other girls were released after a month; however, Leah has remained in captivity for over a year because she refused to convert to Islam in exchange for her freedom.

A prayer vigil took place for her at the Nigerian High Commission in London this afternoon (May 14).



Mervyn Thomas from the religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide shares a birthday with Leah and was at the vigil.

Mervyn told Premier:

“We are here today to stand in solidarity with Leah. It is coincidental that it is David and I's birthday, but we are here to show solidarity with a member of our family.

“Leah is a member of our Christian family.

“She's one of our sisters. She's been in captivity, totally unjustly and has shown incredible courage.

“We want the world and the Nigerian government, particularly to stand up and take notice and to say enough is enough.

“We want them to take some action and we want to see Leah freed.”



MP, David Linden also shares his birthday with Leah and was at the vigil, he told Premier: “It is important that on Leah’s second birthday in captivity we keep that pressure on our own government at home here as well, because we know the UK has a strong relationship with Nigeria.

David told Premier how he had reflected about being free on his birthday and thinking of Leah on hers today.

He said: “I'm down in London away from my family, but I was able to face time my family this morning and see my wife and kids.

“I am able to go for a run, or go for dinner with friends to celebrate my birthday and most people are able to do that.

“This young woman is remarkable and I think one of the things I am overwhelmed by is the absolute inspiration that she provides and the fact that she has stuck with our faith when so many others would have buckled under that pressure.”


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