It’s been over two years since Boko Haram abducted Leah Sharibu, the Christian teenager among over 100 other girls abducted by the insurgents from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, Yobe on February 19, 2018. While other girls were returned by the notorious group, Leah has been kept in captivity because she has refused to renounce her Christian faith. Leah, born May 14th, will be marking her 17th birthday at the camp of the Boko Haram.
Nigerians have taken to various social media networks to identify with Leah and members of her family as they look forward in hopes of her release.
Happy 17th birthday Leah Sharibu
You have been in captivity for time immemorial. Held by the deadly Boko Haram, against your will, for reason no more than your faith; Christianity
No parent should have to miss a daughter this way
You are a Nigerian, failed by your country😰😰 pic.twitter.com/0Z3D6fiHNT
— NEFERTITI (@firstladyship) May 14, 2020
Leah Shabiru’s story is a classic case of religious extremism and many Nigerians have reacted against Boko Haram who has refused to release her on grounds that she will not renounce her faith as a Christian.
On Twitter, many have gone on to wish her a happy birthday as they also called on the government to continue in their efforts to ensure her safe release. Some, however also hold the opinion that there is a conspiracy theory that is surrounding Leah and her release.
Today is Leah Sharibu’s 17th birthday. Join me to wish her happy birthday by retweeting this and commenting. Leah, you are not forgotten. As soon as #COVID19 pandemic is over, God sparing my life, I‘ll continue my global campaign for your release!#FreeLeahSharibu #RenosNuggets pic.twitter.com/uBwVUUG4ej
— Reno Omokri (@renoomokri) May 14, 2020
On many occasions, her family members have staged a protest to create the reminder that they are yet to be reunited with their daughter, activists and social rights movements have many times also appealed for her release.
The government on its own part has also expressed efforts they are taking to ensure that Leah is released and reunited with her family. The Christian Broadcast Network is holding a prayer vigil for Leah on her 17th birthday and they have called on many Christians and others to join in as they call on God for Leah’s freedom.
I got #bubbles today, but I'm dedicating them to Leah Sharibu because today is also her birthday.
Say your best wishes to us. pic.twitter.com/wKvX7huwPx
— 'Bayo Samuel (1000351814 Vbank) (@CaptainSamYNWA) May 14, 2020
Some Twitter users who were also born on the same day as Leah have dedicated whatever wishes they have got to the family as they, like many Nigerians, are looking forward to her release. One Twitter user dedicated the bubbles he had received on his time-line to Leah as he said some prayers for Leah and her family.
Happy birthday Leah Sharibu, I promise to always pray for you, I know your government has failed you but God will never fail you,God will wipe away your mum's tears, we love you pic.twitter.com/MDtWtfEccg
— IGWE NA GHANA (@igwe_johnny) May 14, 2020
Nigerians have their heart with Leah and her family who are not able to celebrate their daughter in a time as this and on Twitter, not much is being done to call on the federal government today as a few had stated that Leah’s release is in God’s hand, but, the government has a role to play in ensuring that Leah does not live another 365 days at the hands of Boko Haram.