We’ve detected that you’re using Internet Explorer. Please consider updating to a more modern browser to ensure the best user experience on our website.

Nigerian Government Reports Kidnapped Christian Teen Leah Sharibu Is Alive, but Still in Grave Danger


Jordan Sekulow

September 16, 2019

6 min read

Persecuted Church



Captive Christian teen Leah Sharibu is reportedly still alive, but her life remains in grave danger at the hands of the jihadist army Boko Haram.

The ACLJ is continually taking action to win her freedom, standing before the United Nations urging global pressure to save young Leah’s life.

As we’ve told you, 16-year-old Leah Sharibu was one of 110 schoolgirls violently abducted from their village in Nigeria by the vile Islamic terrorists Boko Haram. Five of those innocent girls did not survive. 104 were ultimately returned to their village.

Only Leah remains a hostage of the radical militia because she refuses to renounce her Christian faith and convert to Islam.

Initially the group threatened to execute Leah, or make her a slave for the rest of her life. Then it reportedly demanded the astronomical sum of roughly $275 million dollars as a ransom for her life.

Frustrated with the lack of action or answers from her own government, Leah’s mother Rebecca Sharibu even recently traveled to the United States to beg for assistance in obtaining her daughter’s freedom. Through heartbroken tears, Rebecca Sharibu gave an impassioned plea for help in front of a panel discussion on Nigerian persecution hosted by the conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation:

“I am Rebecca Sharibu. I stand here pleading with government of U.S. Please help me!” Sharibu said at the opening of the event as she started crying. “Please help me bring my daughter back.”

Joining her on stage, Sharibu’s interpreter added:

“We are pleading with you to please call on our government or to step in and do something,” she continued. “[We want] to call on all of you. We know that President Trump can do something about it. Your administrators can do something about it. All of you sitting here can do something about it . . . “Women and girls are going through Hell. Please pressure our government. Help us. We are out here. [Rebecca] is crying, just wanting her daughter to be set free.”

For a time things appeared grim, as there were unverified reports as to Leah’s fate. But just weeks ago reports began to surface, citing word from the Nigerian government that the courageous Christian teen is still indeed alive, though she remains in the clutches of Boko Haram.

The Nigerian government is now indicating that Christian teenager Leah Sharibu, who was captured by Boko Haram in February 2018, is alive and not dead.

Several Nigerian and global media outlets reported Saturday that the kidnapped Christian 16-year-old schoolgirl is indeed alive. Reports surfaced this summer that she had been killed in captivity.

Nigeria continues to become an increasingly dangerous place for Christians. Christian advocacy group Open Doors USA has ranked Nigeria 12th in the world for Christian persecution.

Nigeria’s score for violence has stayed as high as possible, primarily due to the increased attacks on Christian communities by Hausa-Fulani Islamic militant herdsmen. These attacks claimed the lives of hundreds of believers during the reporting period, and scores of villages and churches were burned to the ground. Additionally, in parts of northern Nigeria, Christians are treated as second-class citizens with individuals from Muslim backgrounds facing Christian persecution from their own families.

This young woman’s faith, in the face of mortal peril, should be humbling to all of us. That is why we continue to act on her behalf, demanding worldwide action to free her from the captivity of Boko Haram and to see the terrorists brought to justice.

Just weeks ago we submitted a critical written submission through our European affiliate office, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), to the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) urging swift action for Leah Sharibu and for the protection of all of Nigeria’s endangered Christians.

We warned that if this violent persecution isn’t stopped now, it will only continue to expand across Africa, leaving more victims in its wake, and strengthening terrorists. As stated in our submission:

Clearly, horrific acts of aggression are violating the peaceful lives of Christians in Nigeria. In order to prevent further loss of life, a massive humanitarian crisis, and to end increasing religiously motivated violence, we must act now. The U.N. Charter calls on the U.N. to remove threats to peace, and the Genocide Convention calls on the U.N. to prevent acts of genocide, not merely to respond to them.

We have seen in Iraq and Syria what happens when the U.N. fails to take preventive measures when it is clear that mass atrocities are being carried out against a particular group of people. This is only the beginning, if meaningful action is not taken now the problem in Nigeria will worsen. ISIS and ISIS affiliate groups, like Boko Haram, have shown their resiliency time and time again. When they are forced out of one area, they flee in order to regroup and fight another day.

As we also stated, Boko Haram’s campaign of violence against Christians has already begun to cross borders beyond Nigeria into neighboring regions:

Action must be taken to not only stop the spread of violence within Nigeria but also the spread of violence in West Africa. Boko Haram has in fact already begun carrying out attacks in neighbouring Chad and Cameroon.

This is why we respectfully request that this Council work with the government of Nigeria in order to protect the people who are vulnerable to attack by preventing further attacks, prosecuting those who are responsible for these brutal atrocities, and providing aid and assistance to the victims.

The world must take action now before it is too late. If nothing is done, the outlook for all Christians in Nigeria looks very bleak. As we concluded in our written U.N. submission:

It is imperative that the U.N. take swift action and work with the government of Nigeria to ensure that Leah and all others who remain captured are returned home safely and to put an end to the atrocities being carried out in Nigeria by Boko Haram and the Fulani Herdsmen. No one should have to live under the fear of being abducted, enslaved, or killed.

While we are grateful to hear Leah Sharibu is still alive, this poor young Christian has been living a nightmare for 19 months as the prisoner of a vicious Islamic terrorist group. It cannot go on one more day. She must be saved NOW.

close player