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Jubilee Campaign: Six Years Unfree

On this day six years ago, Christian student, 14-year-old Leah Sharibu, attended classes at Dapchi's Government Girls Science and Technical College in Yobe State, Nigeria, unaware of how her life would be abruptly altered later that same day. Within hours, Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram had abducted 110 schoolgirls, some as young as 11 and others as old as 19, with negligible intervention by authorities. Leah Sharibu was among the kidnapped girls, but unlike her peers who were released one month later to return home - albeit traumatized - Leah remained in militant custody for six years, during her life has been at the whim of her captors.

The only 'transgression' Boko Haram accuses Leah of committing is refusing to renounce her faith; essentially, Leah's unyielding Christian devotion in the face of adversity has been Boko Haram's justification for making Leah a "slave for life". Having grown from an adolescent teenage girl into a young woman while in captivity, Leah has experienced numerous life milestones, though not by her own choice. By age 18, Leah was forcibly married against her will to a Boko Haram commander, and in subsequent months and years she became a mother to two children born from marital rape, was remarried unwillingly to another militant personnel, and was trained to achieve medical expertise for the sole purpose of caring for the very people who wrested her liberty from her.

Leah’s parents, Nathan and Rebecca Sharibu, have suffered for half a decade being separated from their daughter but remain hopeful in spite of adversity and government dereliction of duty. In December 2021, the couple relayed their wishes to a representative, Dr. Gloria Puldu of LEAH Foundation, who has informed us that “They said they were tired of speaking, crying and pleading with the government of Buhari, which is deaf to every call."

Jubilee Campaign continues to keep Leah and her two young children in our prayers, as well as her parents Nathan and Rebecca and her siblings, and the many Nigerian girls and women who remain in forced servitude to Boko Haram and Isis West Africa Province. We pray for Leah’s and her children’s safety, health, and liberation. We pray for Nathan and Rebecca’s health, comfort, and unwavering hope. We pray that the Nigerian government will immediately undertake efforts and exhaust all possible avenues to secure the release of young Leah and her children and the reunion with their family.

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