Stop for a minute and think about how amazing your life was as a child, back to those light-hearted days. We used to wake up and eat cereals and milk in a bowl, and the only worries we had were homeworks and who to play with in the afternoon.
Unfortunately, this does not happen with some Nigerian kids. In these months, the voices of thousands of people from all parts of the world are rising to echo Leah Sharibu’s voice. It has been four years since she was kidnapped along with 110 schoolgirls aged 11-19 years old from Dapchi Government Girls' Science and Technical College by Boko Haram terrorists.
We may consider proper-safe education and religious freedom as essential, but in Nigeria they are not that obvious. The wide range of fundamental rights including freedom of conscience and religion, recognized by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has been compromised for years by the violence of terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram, and Fulani militants. In addition, countries like Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Adamawa, Kaduna, Kwara, Borno, Zamfara are threaten by lack of food, extremist ideologies, inappropriate governance, and the increasing flowing of firearms due to the ongoing instability in Libya. Imagine a sudden and huge population growth in your small town, with climate change episodes like desertification at their worst. That means less water and food for you and your family. It means that you must fight to bring home simple basic groceries. Plus, your government does not represent you and politicians often blame challenges on other identity groups and then present themselves as the only ones their group can trust to protect them and to fight for their resources.
Leah Sharibu’s captivity is slowly bringing media’s attention to the by-now-unpopular debate around African religious persecutions. The complexity of Nigerian conflict between Muslims and Christians and the very limited media coverage in those territories makes the reports discontinuous.
“Leah represents the worldwide struggle both for freedom of religion and belief and the unacceptable violence directed at women and girls” stated the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief Report.
Hopefully, the APPG Report will mark the beginning of a brand-new consciousness, allowing people and news desks to break bias connected to this unfair violence.
We are honoured to collaborate with the International Organization for PeaceBuilding and Social Justice to petition the international community and stand for the release of Leah and thousands of other children in Nigeria. Join us live on our Instagram page @thewomeninternational, on the 14th of May 2021 at 7PM (WAT, BST).
“Do something, be a voice” - Pastor Abby Olufehimi.