By Tony Ogunlowo….
On the 19th of February this year more than a hundred girls were kidnapped from the Government Girls Science and Technology College, Dapchi in Yobe state by a faction of the dreaded Boko Haram.
Five weeks later 105 girls were released, 5 had died in captivity and one girl was held back.
The name of the girl held back is Leah Sharibu, only 14 years old at the time, and her captors refused to release her because she refused to convert to Islam.
Eight months on and she is still being held against her will with her captors threatening to execute her at any time: they have already executed two Red Cross health workers kidnapped earlier this year.
Lai Mohammed, the Minister for Information and Culture, has recently said that the government was doing everything within their power to secure her release: but considering the ongoing Chibok girls saga this can mean virtually nothing substantial is being done. Politicians will always say one thing and do something else – or do nothing at all. Hopefully she won’t be used as a political bargaining tool in the run-up to the 2019 elections.
For such a young girl to put her life on the line for her faith I don’t see any of the so-called ‘Men-of-God’ in Nigeria lining up to fight for her release – or even mention her( Pastor Adeboye only mentioned her briefly in a sermon in March and that was it!). Is this because they are too busy collecting tithes, faking miracles or pocketing backhanders from politicians? Or are they too busy trying to win more souls to their churches (- to pay more tithes!) they can afford to ignore the plight of one deeply religious girl?
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By refusing to convert to Islam and facing an uncertain future, Leah has displayed more courage than most people. How many people in her predicament would resist the urge to convert to Islam just to get out of there? ( I know I would! I would convert fast, call myself ‘Mohammed’ and run like a mad-man as soon as they released me!). How many of our so-called ‘Men-of-God’ would be brave enough to hold on to their faith faced with such a predicament? It’s one thing to hold a Bible and preach to a multitude and another thing to be prepared to die for what you believe in.
Recently the kidnappers have issued a demand for N100bn ransom for her release – a ludicrous amount – and her family are busy running around trying to raise some money to appease her captors. None of our over-paid, under-worked and ‘too-rich’ politicians have stepped in to help. Neither have any of the so-called ‘Men-of-God’ either. It would be good if our pastors, Defenders and Preachers of the Faith, dipped into all the tithes they’ve been collecting from people all these years and find a way to pay her ransom – and help her family financially: it would be the Christian thing to do. Or are they waiting for her to become a martyr so they can use her name to preach?
This poor girl must not be allowed to become another statistic of the murderous Boko Haram campaign !
There are influential politicians out there who can affect her release straight away but they are too busy buying up votes ahead of the impending 2019 elections to do anything. There are top ‘Men-of-God’ out there who have the Presidents’ ear but instead of fighting for her release they are only interested in engaging in photocalls to further their own popularity .
Something needs to be done.
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