By Prisca Sam-Duru
For four years now, little Leah Sharibu has been missing in her schools’ Children’s Day celebration. Not only that she has been transformed against her will into a teenage mother of two as we heard in the news, she has also been forcefully converted to Islam by her captors.
Friday, 14th May, 2021, was the 18th birthday of the ambassador of Christ- Leah Sharibu. No one will be surprised if she didn’t even remember her special day due to obvious reasons. But as the world marked the 2021 Children’s Day last Thursday 27th May, we remembered Leah and every other child both those who have fallen and those still in captivity, hoping and praying that one day, they will reunite with their families and friends.
Leah’s story is not just a modern-day Christian martyr narrative, but also, that of modern-day slavery. Young Leah is just one out of thousands of black Africans, mostly Christians who have been enslaved by terrorists and trafficked in Libya, Sudan, Nigeria, Algeria etc.
While the prayers for their freedom intensify, renowned Minister of God and iconic gospel singer, Dr Panem Percy Paul, has through his soul-inspiring means of communication, released a song of hope for Leah.
It is entitled “Hero of Faith”. The song, with very powerful lyrics in the semblance of “USA for Africa”, featuring late hip-hop legend, Michael Jackson and several music stars, is a message of hope, faith in God and a prayer for freedom.
It captures the mood of concerned individuals on the vulnerability of our children in the face of daunting level of insecurity bedevilling Nigeria.
Recall that it was during a kidnap incident on February 19, 2018, involving 109 Government Girls’ Technical College students, Yobe state, that the heroine of faith -Leah was left behind because she refused to renounce her faith in Christ Jesus. Five of her classmates died in the process while others were later released. Leah has remained in captivity without any effort from authorities to see to her freedom.
From Leah Sharibu, to Benjamin Habila of Government Science College, Niger state; and Michael Nnadi of Good Shepherd Seminary Kakau, Kaduna state who were both murdered during terrorists’ onslaught on their schools, the emotion laden song extols the virtue of these heroes who exhibited so much faith and strength in their maker. It is disheartening that government has failed woefully to rescue Leah, the remaining Chibok Girls and many others.
The song released recently, is performed by Dr Panem Percy Paul, and an international group of musicians including legendary Christian musicians such as Lou Fellingham, Noel Robinson, Sinach, Steph MacLeod etc.
In the music video, Dr Panem Percy Paul begins his lines with his usual melodious voice; “Who would have thought that the faith of Leah Sharibu, would make a nation struggle for survival, who would have thought that the light from her Bible, would be stronger than the rifle, and make this girl choose to die, than to deny, she is a hero, the hero of faith”
And then the chorus goes, “Heros of faith, scares from the battle, is their greatest title, not silver or gold, Heros of faith, their greatest reward, is the cross and the word not riches untold, when all is said and done, their light keep shinning on”. These lines offer a peep into the state of mind of young Leah and Michael Nnadi who even with death staring them in the face, maintained a strong faith in Jesus, reminiscing the Biblical gallant trio of Meshach, Shedrach and Abednego.
“Who would have thought, that four years would go by, the nations would stand by in silence and pretend no wrong was done, who would have thought that no amount of darkness can quench the smallest light, oh daughter of Zion keep shinning on, you are the hero of faith, the hero of faith”, make up the second stanza. It is heart-wrecking that while authorities have paid ransom to terrorists to release their victims, Leah seems to have been forgotten. She is however encouraged to hang on. “Oh daughter of Zion keep shinning on, you are the hero of faith”
Lines in the third stanza: “Something about the Lord, His love is His power, and there is no lover, that can give his life and die for His friends, something about the Lord, His Kingdom is forever, He will rule the world with power…”, is proof that irrespective of who is involved, God’s love is for everyone. But surely, evil will slay the wicked!
Source: Nigerian Newspapers Online