Nigeria fails to protect next generation

By May 23, 2022

Nigeria (MNN) — Escaped Chibok schoolgirls begin a new chapter in the United States as Nigeria fails to protect its next generation.

First, the good news: last week’s graduation ceremony at the University of Notre Dame included a handful of Chibok survivors, PR Nigeria reports.  Others received a chance for new life from generous believers in Canada.

The University of Notre Dame’s 2022 graduating class included survivors of the 2014 Chibok kidnapping.
(Photo courtesy of PR Nigeria)

International human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe helps Chibok survivors attend college in the U.S. through the Education Must Continue Initiative. “Two of the 11 girls brought to the U.S. were ready for college-level classes. But we didn’t have the resources to do that,” Ogebe says.

“They were only able to go to college in America because Voice of the Martyrs Canada provided funding.”

This opportunity stands in stark contrast to Nigeria’s present reality. Gunmen abducted 1,500 students last year and killed 16, the United Nations reports. Terrorism put 10.5 million students out of the classroom in 2021. Today, more than 18 million kids have lost access to education; over half are girls.

Mass kidnappings began in 2014 when Boko Haram took 276 girls from a school in Chibok. Many escaped or have been “ransomed” for payment by Nigeria’s government.

However, more than a hundred girls remain captive, like Dorcas Yakubu, who “was last seen in a ‘proof of life’ video pleading for release from the hands of terrorists,” Ogebe says.

“The Chibok abductions are now the world’s longest-running school mass abduction; 109 girls are still not back.”

Listen to the whole conversation on VOM Canada’s “Closer To The Fire” podcast.

Life in captivity

Eight years after their abduction, Chibok schoolgirls “tend to the wives and family of Boko Haram members” as informal nurses, Ogebe says.

“Boko Haram said to the Christian girls who wouldn’t deny Christ, ‘Well, you will become slaves.’ Initially, they used to fetch water and firewood, but over time, Boko Haram has trained them to become medics.”

A 14-year-old believer named Leah Sharibu fell prey to Boko Haram captors in 2018. “She’s become viral as the world’s youngest political prisoner,” Ogebe says.

After a month in captivity, the terrorists released all of Leah’s classmates, but they kept her because she refused to renounce Christ.

Today, “Leah is very much alive,” escapees tell Ogebe.

Leah Sharibu
(Photo courtesy of VOM Canada)

“One of them said, ‘I saw her (Leah Sharibu), but they wouldn’t let us come near her. I wanted to tell her that she is a hero of the faith.’”

Use the prompts listed alongside this article to pray for Leah and the remaining Chibok captives. Support persecuted Christians in Nigeria through VOM Canada.

 

 

 

Header image courtesy of VOM Canada.