Nigerians on Tuesday celebrated the 16th birthday of an abducted Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, as they asked the Federal Government to ensure her safe release from captivity.
Sharibu was among the 112 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram members at the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19, 2018.
While most of the victims were released, she was reportedly held for refusing to deny her Christian faith.
On Tuesday, May 14, Nigerians took to different social media platforms to mark her birthday as they demanded her release after 449 days in captivity.
The Convener of the #BringBackOurGirls movement, Oby Ezekwesili, lamented that despite assurances by President Muhammadu Buhari, Sharibu had yet to regain her freedom.
“History will record that a young daughter of our country #LeahSharibu was left behind when her schoolmates were retrieved from terrorist abduction. She stood unwilling to negotiate her faith for freedom. She’s 16 today. Tragic,” she wrote on Twitter.
A former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, while urging the government to do more to ensure her release, prayed for the victim’s family members.
He tweeted, “As Leah Sharibu marks her birthday in captivity today, I join other Nigerians and lovers of peace in the world to urge the FG to ensure her release. God will sustain her and her family members.”
A former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, said Sharibu exemplified the qualities of a true Christian.
“Today is Leah Sharibu’s birthday. She has been held captive by Boko Haram for over 400 days now simply because she refused to renounce her Christian faith. She is a reference point for courage, strength and faith and a source of inspiration and pride for every believer,” he said.
A popular Nigerian gospel singer, Penam Percy Paul, composed a special song to commemorate Sharibu’s birth, as he lauded her refusal to deny Jesus Christ.
The music video had been shared by many social media users as of Tuesday when it was released on the Internet.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alh Atiku Abubakar, said he hoped steps would be taken towards the release of all youngsters in captivity, including Sharibu.
“The mother of Leah Sharibu and the entire family are still waiting. The wait is getting longer. Nigerian authorities can put a smile on the face of her mother and her family by reuniting her with them,” Amnesty International also wrote on Twitter.