Nigeria: Leah Sheribu - the Girl Boko Haram Left Behind

Leah Sharibu.
21 September 2021

Sherlock Holmes, the fictional English detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is famous for saying "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." That phrase has guided many an investigation and has led to the unearthing of many truths, many shocking ones.

It is a principle I have followed in my vocation as a seeker of truth and it was central to getting to the truth of the Dapchi Girls' abduction which occurred on February 19, 2018.

For instance, it is impossible that the Dapchi Girls, including Leah Sheribu, could have been abducted if their town and school were guarded by the officers and men of the Nigerian Army stationed in Dapchi.

It is also impossible that those soldiers, who strangely withdrew from Dapchi a few hours to the kidnap, would have done so on their own volition without an order from above.

Thus, by a process of eliminating the impossibilities in the equation, the truth becomes clear that whoever ordered the withdrawal of the troops in Dapchi, only hours before Boko Haram invaded the town and abducted Leah and her colleagues, must have been aware of Boko Haram's plans, especially as we will show that the Nigerian government received an intelligence tip a day before the abduction of the Dapchi girls of Boko Haram's intentions.

When you take all of these into account, the only logical conclusion you can reach is that there was some major collusion between elements of the Nigerian government and the radical Islam terror group, Boko Haram that led to the Dapchi incident.

So who are these colluders? What are their motives? Why were they willing to use the Dapchi Girls and especially Leah Sheribu as collateral damage in their sinister activities?

These and other questions are what this book sets out to answer.

In answering these questions, I interviewed Leah's parents, her sibling, her pastor, and members of the Dapchi community in which she lived and was brought up.

I also approached foreign intelligence assets whom I cannot now mention, as well as journalists with insider knowledge of the workings of Boko Haram, one of whom is Ahmed Salkida, the man who correctly predicted Boko Haram's behaviours before, during and after the earlier Chibok Girls' abduction of 2014.

But, even as I try to answer these questions, I want the world to know that there is a young girl who is still being held captive by Boko Haram simply because she refused to abandon her faith in God through Jesus Christ. Her name is Leah Sheribu, and she is the heroine of whom this book is all about.

I was at the US Congress on Thursday February 2, 2017 to attend a discussion on the very real threats to Christianity in Nigeria and how they could be addressed. At that event, Congressman Christopher H Smith, who was then the Chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organisations, told me and others present at that event that Nigeria is "the most dangerous place for Christians in the world".

When the international media reported Congressman Smith's views, the Nigerian government denounced it and rejected the notion that Nigeria is the most dangerous place to practice Christianity in the world.

A year later, Boko Haram kidnapped the Dapchi Girls. A month later, all the girls left alive (104 of them) were freed except Leah. Because she is a Christian. Because she refused to abandon Christ.

Since 2015, the Council on Foreign Relations approximates that 20,000 Nigerians have died at the hands of radical Islamic terror groups including Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen (who are not classified as terrorists by the Nigerian government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, himself a Fulani tribesman, though they have killed more people over the last three years than Boko Haram).

Most of their victims (but not all) have been Christians killed, maimed and terrorised because of their faith in God through Christ Jesus.

In a 48-page report released in 2018 and titled "Crushed but Not Defeated: The Impact of Persistent Violence on the Church in Northern Nigeria," Open Doors, the non-profit group, revealed that 13,000 churches have been destroyed in the ongoing jihad by radicals in some parts of Nigeria.

Very few people are speaking for these forgotten Christians in Northern Nigeria who are literally going through hell on earth. I am determined to speak for them and to speak for Leah.

In his book, The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri said:

"The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality."

How can I be neutral when a fourteen-year-old girl (Leah turned fifteen in Boko Haram's captivity) continues to face daily threats on her life for no other reason than that she believes in God through Christ Jesus?

I also have a daughter. My daughter is the same age as Leah. What if it had been her? My daughter is an American citizen only because she was born in America. If I had not taken the conscious decision to have her in the United States, she would have been a Nigerian citizen and who knows, it could have been her instead of Leah.

Would I have been content with the way the Nigerian government and the media appear to have forgotten about Leah if she was my daughter? Would life simply go on for my family, friends and I? I would like to think not!

In Matthew 25:40 Jesus said whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren that you do unto me. If you are reading this book, Nathan and Rubecca, Leah's parents, urge you to use whatever influence you have, even if it is your social media profiles, to speak for Leah and to speak for religious freedom and peaceful coexistence.

Leah's story has not yet ended. We, people of conscience all over the world, are the ones who get to decide how this story ends. If we let this issue die a natural death, chances are that Boko Haram would do the same to Leah (only that her'a would be unnatural). But if we sustain the pressure on the Nigerian government and the international community, we will increase the likelihood of Leah's release.

Please join me on this quest. The quest to secure the release, alive, of Leah Sheribu, the Girl That Boko Haram Left Behind.

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