Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Boko Haram appears to have set up a new media team and the body has been controlling the mind states of people remotely with regular bad news. Since this year started, the Islamic extremist group has been serenading the internet space with heart-wrenching treatments they have meted out to people. From the killing of soldiers, to the kidnap and subsequent beheading of the CAN Chairman in Adamawa State in the person of Reverend Lawan Andimi, execution of a University of Maiduguri student – Ropvil Daciya Dalep by a minor, killing of 10 loggers in Borno and now impregnating Leah Sharibu after forcefully converting her to Islam. This will not stop, Boko Haram has been with us for over a decade now and they might just come to stay.
Leah Sharibu made a huge mistake in the year 2018 when she was kidnapped in Dapchi, Yobe State alongside 110 other pupils by members of the terrorist group but you wouldn’t blame her. She was naive, inexperienced and too young to deal with the situation she found herself. Pardon me readers if I sound a bit too insensitive here, Its not intended at all. Leah Sharibu, a Christian by family background blatantly refused to convert to Islam when she was abducted with her schoolmates. She stood by her faith which is something impressive and inspirational for the media. She wasn’t ready to act like a Muslim girl or even fake it. She stood up to them despite their scary and dangerous faces. They must have also threatened her with death but she refused to be cowed by their actions. That’s a good story to tell but at what costs? The price to pay was too high!
I can bet my life that if Boko Haram hijacks one of our top and fiery Christian clerics, they will willing comply with any instructions given just to survive that moment because they know what is at stake. In fact, the terrorists might even be shocked about how fast some Pastors in captivity will learn Arabic, how to read the Qu’ran and say some prayers within a short period in captivity. But that doesn’t mean the victim has betrayed his faith or isn’t qualified to make heaven. Its mere acting. There is no full conviction that the actions he took are real and meaningful. Not everybody can survive the burning fiery furnace like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did.
If Leah Sharibu had momentarily complied with the terrorists by wearing the hijab and saying her prayers like normal Muslims, their focus would have been taken away from her. The girls of her set were many and Boko Haram was struggling to deal with the numbers.
The courageous Leah would have rejoined her family with the others girls, her schooling would have continued, her Christian faith would have grown through constant worship and teachings, her parents would have been saved of the trauma her absence has caused over the years and the advocacy groups would have focused more on the remaining Chibok girls who sadly might never return again.
I know religion means a lot to several people in this part of the world but we need to be liberal and diplomatic in some ways. Let’s learn some tricks from politicians. In 2015, the former Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron during his re-election campaign went to the Neasden temple and he followed some religious rites according to the Hindu faith. From there, he left for the church and also prayed. Even President Muhammadu Buhari who many believe is a core Muslim with an ‘Islamization Agenda’ once bowed down his head for prayers when some Christian clerics visited him at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja. The pictures are online for people to see.
Leah made a costly mistake but I will never blame her at the same time. She was only a 14, a minor for that matter. I will rather blame the government for failing in its primary duty to protect the lives and properties of it’s citizens. The news of Leah being married off to a Boko Haram commander after being converted to a Muslim against her will and then having a son for the faceless terrorist is hard to chew. She was apparently raped constantly; it couldn’t have been love. I sympathize with her parents. Boko Haram has created indelible marks in their hearts and only God can console them. I will always remember Leah in my prayers.