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World News

"God is in control": Leah Sharibu's mother says her daughter's captivity has drawn her closer to God

by Heather Preston

The mother of Christian school girl, Leah Sharibu says her daughter's captivity has drawn her closer to God as she commemorates two years since her abduction. 

A protest was held at the Nigerian High Court on Wednesday calling for the 16-year-old's release after two years of in-action.

Rebecca Sharibu was joined by some 50 campaigners as she prayed for Leah's wellbeing and pleaded with the UK government to help secure her daughter's freedom.

Islamic extremist group Boko Haram abducted Leah from her school in north-eastern Nigeria along with 109 other girls on 19th February 2018.

Despite her classmates all being released, Leah has remained in forced captivity for refusing to renounce her Christian faith and convert to Islam.

During this period, the Nigerian government has failed to give any proof of life or conclusive information as to her wellbeing or release.

A number of media outlets have reported her giving birth to the son of a Boko Haram commander and being forced to convert to Islam.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Premier Christian News, her mother Rebecca described how difficult this time has been for her and her family.

"We are in great pain that I cannot even explain. But it is only God that knows the kind of things that we are going through," she said.

"These are just rumours going around because we have not seen Leah, we don't have proof of life, we don't have the proof of whether she has converted or has not converted. 

"But one thing we know is that God is in control. He's seen what is happening to her."

Rebecca went on to say that her daughter's courage in standing up for her faith displays her devotion to Jesus Christ.

"I am very proud of Leah, that she was bold enough to refuse to renounce her Christian faith. With that I am so proud and I'm thankful to God for giving her such courage," she added.

Rebecca went on to say that Leah's struggle has grown her own relationship with God as she has had to trust in him through times of great anxiety and uncertainty.

She said: "For the past two years, this situation has drawn me closer to God. It has made me pray even more. It has built my spiritual life, because I know that my own daughter [stood strong in her faith]. 

"I'm not sure if I would have been able to do that. So for me, for the past two years, it has been a time of spiritual growth."

Rebecca Sharibu is calling for Boris Johnson to pressure the Nigerian government to take further action to ensure Leah is released and returned home.

Religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide has been campaigning on behalf of Leah since she was taken in 2018. 

Speaking to Premier at Wednesday's protest, founder Mervyn Thomas explained that Leah has become a figurehead for many other Christians facing persecution in Northern Nigeria.

He said: "The situation is getting worse and worse we are seeing killings and kidnappings on a daily basis and nothing seems to be being done about it. Our government and the Nigerian government say sugary words and yet there is no action."

Thomas says he is disappointed by both the UK and the Nigerian government for their in-action in Leah Sharibu's case: "The world needs to take action and wake up to the situation in Nigeria."

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