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Leah Sharibu
Leah Sharibu

February 19th marked the fourth anniversary of the abduction of Leah Sharibu, a Nigerian schoolgirl who was kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists when she was only 14 years old. Originally, 110 students were captured during the raid. Five died following the attack and, after negotiations, all remaining students were released except for Leah. According to reports from other students, the young teen continued to be held captive because she refused to renounce her Christian faith and convert to Islam (see this report).

Leah, who turns 19 years of age on May 14th, has reportedly been married off to one of her abductors and is rumoured to have two children. However, any such reports have come from others who escaped from Boko Haram captivity, and thus there is little certainty. During an interview in January of this year, Nigeria's Chief of Army Staff said that "concrete strategies are being put in place to secure the release not only of Leah Sharibu but also of all hostages held by the terrorists." However, any promises of government action have been limited.

This past Christmas, Leah's family admitted that they were tired of making calls to the government, for it seems as if their pleas for intervention have been falling on deaf ears. Instead, they've determined to remain silent and seek the continued prayers of concerned Christians around the world. In response to the family's wishes, The Voice of the Martyrs Canada joins in their ongoing call for prayer on behalf of Leah and the other abducted victims who need to be rescued from terrorist captivity.

Please continue to remember Leah in your prayers. If, in fact, she does have children, may she be a testimony of God's faithfulness and grace in their young lives, leading each one of them to a saving knowledge of Jesus. May the light of Christ shine brightly through Leah, dispelling the spiritual darkness around her, so that His truth and love will reach others whom she encounters while confined. Pray that the Nigerian government will take necessary action to ensure the freedom of all the victims remaining in captivity. In the meantime, may God's peace rest on each one of these victims, and their concerned family members, as they cling to the hope of being joyfully reunited with loved ones.

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

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    A Nigerian church service.
    Photo: Flickr / SIM USA (cc)

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    Photo: Screenshot

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