Leah Sharibu will be 18 on Friday, 14 May 2021, and it will be three years and counting since she, along with 110 other girls, were abducted by Boko Haram from her school in Dapchi, Nigeria. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has been relentless in maintaining awareness of Leah’s captivity. The Islamic terrorist group released all the remaining girls, but Leah was denied release because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.
For her 18th birthday, CSW will be hosting a 24 hour prayer vigil under the banner, ‘Heroes of Faith’. CSW’s Head of Campaigns, Dave Mance, describes the event as a global wave of prayer for Leah. “It will take the format of five one-hour long events across five continents,” Dave said. The events will be streamed live on facebook and YouTube on her birthday, Friday, 14 May. People are invited to sign up through the link below:
“The response so far has been amazing,” Dave said.
Highlights of the event include a song, also titled ‘Heroes of Faith’, that Nigerian singer, Panam Percy Paul, wrote especially for Leah. The song will be released exclusively at the event and features other artistes, including Sinach (Way Maker); Muyiwa; Noel Robinson; Lou Fellingham and Steph MacLeod.
Other contributors at the event include Lord Alton of Liverpool, who will deliver a response from the Nigerian and UK governments; MP Fiona Bruce, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief; MP Jeremy Hunt and MP David Linden.
Leah’s mother, Rebecca Sharibu, who will also be making a presentation at the event, said: “If I could see Leah now, I would tell her how I praise her decision and I would let her know that we are still praying for her and some day she will be back home.”
Dave Mance said: “I echo the words of Leah’s mother. CSW has been so encouraged to see thousands of people signing up to be part of the initiative in support of Leah and others in Nigeria who are suffering because of their faith.
“Last week, we saw 29 students released after two months of captivity. That kind of news should encourage us and we should use it to fuel our prayers as we continue to hope and persevere in prayer for Leah. The situation for Christians in Nigeria is very concerning. Nigeria is heading up one of the vigil events and their trust in God is hugely encouraging and we want to stand beside them in prayer and action.”
Davita Andow, Communications and Fundraising Officer for CSW in Nigeria, said: “We believe in the power of prayer and that this global effort will help to gain Leah her freedom. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever and when we pray collectively, we believe that heaven will respond. The Nigerian government should also stand up to their responsibility and protect the lives of people in Nigeria so that people like Leah and others can be given their freedom.
“I would like to call upon Nigerians in the UK and other parts of the world to share this event and encourage others to share it and I would encourage them to be a part of this.”
The Nigerian event will include pre-recorded interviews with several Nigerian teenagers, who, like Leah, are 18 years old. One of the girls interviewed relates how she too was abducted from her village, Goza, in Borno State; how she spent three weeks in captivity, was sexually abused but finally managed to escape. During the interview, the young lady shared her hopes for the future.
Other Nigerians speaking at the event include politicians from the House of Representatives and members of the Clergy.