By Temitope Owotoki
Christians on Tuesday staged a rally to mark the 16th birthday of Leah Sharibu, a girl who was abducted by Boko Haram 449 days ago.
Leah is the only girl still in captivity, out of more than 100 female students kidnapped on February 19, 2018, from a secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State.
Almost all were released after about a month after negotiations with the Nigerian government, but Sharibu was not, allegedly because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.
Charity groups, most of which are affiliated with churches, organised the rally to mark her 16th birthday and press the government to work harder for her release. The rallies were held in most state capitals including Lagos, Jos, Akure and Abuja
In the Federal Capital Territory, dozens of activists staged their march at the Unity Fountains in Abuja’s Central District.
Their aim was to “remember Leah in prayer and also to engage in a peaceful march to ask for her release,” the rally coordinator, Reverend Gideon Para-Mallam said.
“Leah is presently voiceless but her courageous action of faith speaks for her,” Para-Mallam said.
A music video titled “I will not deny Jesus” was released as a tribute to Sharibu, he added.
The cleric hopes that President Muhammadu Buhari can win the girl’s freedom as he prepares to begin his second term on May 29.