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Nigerian mother calls on UK to help release kidnapped teenager

21 February 2020


Rebecca Sharibu outside the Nigerian High Commission holding the petition

Rebecca Sharibu outside the Nigerian High Commission holding the petition

THE mother of a Christian teenager kidnapped two years ago by Boko Haram has pleaded with Boris Johnson to intervene and negotiate her release.

Leah Sharibu, aged 14 (pictured), was one of 110 pupils kidnapped from a school in north-eastern Nigeria (News, 28 March 2018). Most were released days later, apart from some who died in captivity. Leah — who refused to renounce her Christian faith — was not released.

Leah’s mother, Rebecca, came to the UK this week to plead for help from the British government. She said: “I need Leah back home and I need him to set Leah free, just like the other girls were set free.

She was speaking at an event in Westminster Hall to mark the second anniversary of the kidnapping. The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, also issued a statement on Tuesday. He has previously been lobbied by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, the Rt Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, on Leah’s behalf.

Mr Buhari said: “We say, as the government for and of all Nigerians, that no person has the right to force another to change their faith against their will, and that all life is sacred.

“This government continues and seeks to secure the release of all children and captives of terrorists — and we do so regardless of their creed or the name of their creator.

A protest vigil was held outside the Nigerian High Commission in London to mark the anniversary of the kidnap.

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