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Leah Sharibu
Leah Sharibu

Leah Sharibu, who has been held captive by Islamic jihadists from the Boko Haram terrorist group for more than three years after refusing to renounce her Christian faith, turned 18 years old on May 14th. Standing in solidarity with her, Christians around the world have continued to call for her release.

Originally kidnapped in February 2018, along with 109 other students from a girls' school in Dapchi, Nigeria, Leah has held fast to her Christian faith. Five of the abducted girls died and the other 104 were released a month after being abducted. However, according to those released, Leah refused to "cooperate" by converting to Islam.

Various reports have leaked over the past three years indicating that Leah is still alive. The latest report states that she has recently given birth to a second child within a year of being forced into marriage to a Boko Haram commander.

Despite assurances from Nigeria's president that everything possible will be done to rescue Leah and the many other remaining kidnapped victims, they continue to be held in captivity. This includes the students of another previously reported incident, as over 100 girls from the Chibok school likewise remain missing, more than seven years after their abduction. (A report on this situation is available here.) There are cases in which the kidnapped victims have been sold into sexual slavery.

Please continue to uphold Leah and the other surviving victims in your prayers. May the Lord give them and their distraught families the strength needed to endure and remain hopeful. Pray that each of the kidnapped girls will continue to experience the reassuring presence of Christ, whose unfailing love has undoubtedly been sustaining them throughout the years of their captivity. Pray for wisdom on behalf of Nigeria's government officials so that their efforts to locate the missing victims and safely secure their release will be effective. Through the abounding mercy and grace of our Heavenly Father, may all of them soon be set free and joyfully reunited with their families.

Current Ministry Projects

Through a vast variety of projects, VOMC works with in-country partners to encourage and strengthen Nigerian Christians who have experienced extreme forms of persecution. Christian widows receive trauma counselling to help them heal from the aftermath of tragically losing their husbands due to persecution-related attacks. These widows are also provided skills training so they can have a practical means of income to support their families. Children who have lost their parents and other relatives during incidents of persecution are provided a safe place in which to grow and be nurtured. Medical fees are paid for Christians who have suffered serious injuries perpetrated by militants affiliated with Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Fulani groups. Discipleship and vocational training are being offered to Muslim-background believers to help them start their new lives spiritually and practically.

The ministry also gives persecuted Christians who are completing their master's degrees – and have a desire to share the Gospel in their communities – the opportunity to benefit as recipients of the Glenn Penner Scholarship Award. Another one of VOMC’s projects in Nigeria involves the distribution of food aid to persecuted Christians residing within Internal Displacement Persons' (IDP) camps. Through this distribution effort, displaced believers who have been forced to flee their homes and communities because of their faith not only receive daily sustenance but also the encouragement that’s needed to rebuild their lives.

Project Funds: Women’s Ministry, Bibles (Distribution), Medical, Families of Martyrs, Equipping the Saints, Relief & Development

Country Information

Population
219,463,862 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Hausa (30), Yoruba (15.5), Igbo (15.2), Fulani (6), Tiv (2.4), Kanuri/Beriberi (2.4), Ibibio (1.8), Izaw/Izon (1.8), Other (24.7)

Religion (%)
Islam (53.5), Christianity (45.9), Other (0.6)

Leader
President Muhammadu Buhari (2015)

Government type
Federal presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law (in 12 northern states), and traditional law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Nigeria

May God minister great comfort and healing to all who have been injured or bereaved as a result of the militants' brutal attacks. In addition, pray for the remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls, that they will be assured of the Lord's abiding presence as they await release from captivity. Continue to uphold President Buhari and other members of the Nigerian government as they make further attempts to rescue the remaining girls and provide protection for vulnerable citizens. As they persevere in their endeavours to overcome terrorism, may they be granted wisdom, courage, strength and help from on high.

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Nigeria News

  • Dozens Kidnapped from Two Church Services
    A church service in Nigeria
    A Nigerian church service.
    Photo: Flickr / SIM USA (cc)

    Suspected Fulani herdsmen stormed a church in Suleja, Niger State, in the early morning of September 17th. Several of the church members who had gathered for an all-night prayer vigil were kidnapped, along with the pastor.