“Alice Ngaddah is a mother of two young children. Leah was kidnapped from her school in Dapchi, Yobe State on 19 February 2018, and Alice, a young nurse with UNICEF, was kidnapped on 1 March 2018 during her humanitarian work. Only nine days separate them,” Rev. Para-Mallam narrated and added that while Leah had spent 1,322 days in captivity, Alice Ngaddah had spent 1,312 days with his captors.
“By God’s grace our peace foundation will continue to actively advocate for Leah Sharibu, Alice Ngaddah and others,” he said.
Rev. Para-Mallam notes that at one point, Leah Sharibu and Alice Ngaddah were both held in the same camp, in 2019 and early 2020, but they are in separate camps right now.
He said that encouraging family members of the two women who are in captive has not been easy and that they are traumatized.
Asked to “put a face” to the suffering in Nigeria, the Christian advocate gave a list of some of the women who are still being held by Boko Haram.
(Story continues below)
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“They are so many,” he replied, and added, “But let us mention some of them: Grace Tukka, Lilian Gyang Daniel, Praise Austin, Grace, Justina, Ruth, Suzannah, Grace, Jummai, Caroline Malakarlia, Grace, Mwanret, Mama Hauwa, Bayo, Joseph, a Muslim woman- Jamala, Fayina and most recently Christiana, kidnapped by Boko Haram on July 8, 2021.”
“Our Peace Foundation is also in touch with several of these hurting families. I can say one thing for sure: they are all traumatized, but they remain hopeful,” Rev. Para-Mallam said.
He said that he does not believe that the reported death of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in June has had an impact on Leah’s future.
He added that the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), which kidnapped Leah does not like killing or keeping Muslims in captivity, and tends to release them soon after their identity as Muslims is known.
However, in some cases in which Christians are forced to convert to Islam under Boko Haram’s threat, the women are kept as sex slaves while the able-bodied men are conscripted into their army, indoctrinated, trained, and sent to fight for the establishment of the Islamic Caliphate, the Christian advocate said.
Asked to describe the situation of Christians in Nigeria, Rev. Para-Mallam said, “The situation for Christians in Nigeria could be described as ‘deadly and horrible times.’ Christians in Nigeria have never had it so bad.”
“The killings are real. The effect of the persecution is palpably severe is some parts of the country, especially the Northeast, West, and Middle Belt,” he said, and explained, “Let me be clear, the deadly insurgency in Nigeria has also led to many Muslims being killed by Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen, and bandits. However, the fact that Muslims are also victims does not hide the fact that Christians are being persecuted today in Nigeria.”
Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.