Dapchi and Liya Sharibu: Are you brave enough to defend your beliefs? By Buchi Obichie (Opinion)

Dapchi and Liya Sharibu: Are you brave enough to defend your beliefs? By Buchi Obichie (Opinion)

Editors’ note: In this piece, the writer, Buchi Obichie, questions the strength of her own faith, in light of the amazing display of courage by Liya Sharibu, the only Dapchi schoolgirl who is still being held by Boko Haram terrorists.

"Are you even a Christian sef?" My friend asked, as he threw that familiar joke at me again, for like the 97.9th time.

With similar sarcasm, I responded: “At least, I’m much better than you, bloody non-believer!”

We threw light insults at each other again and laughed-out-loud, before I cut the call and went to attend to other pressing issues.

See, that question was not unusual. It’s actually an inside joke between me and most of my friends: the fact that I am a 'nominal', unconventional Christian, who chooses moments of convenience to get to Mass and fellowship with others.

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I tell my friends most of the time: “God is my hommie…I talk to him every day…he understands the situation.” And when they tease me further, I just say “Look, I still have a spot in heaven. I’ll be joining you there too, at some point.”

With my responses, I found a comeback for each jab and consoled myself even further, that my faith was still somewhat strong…somewhat.

But lately, a young woman’s action in face of great persecution has shamed me.

Liya Sharibu was among the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from a school in Dapchi. By some miraculous occurrence, 104 of the girls were released…except one…Liya. Apparently, she had been given an option by the insurgents to denounce her faith, and she refused; so they held on to her.

Liya is still being held in captivity as I write this piece; and the whole nation is still anxiously waiting for her to be released.

I pride myself in being an ‘enlightened Christian’ i.e. one who is not easily deceived by these new age so-called men-of-God throwing around falsities in a bid to enrich themselves. I like to ‘search things out for myself’; and sometimes, I mock those I consider to be ‘gullible enough’ to fall for such obvious deceptions. But am I really a good Christian? I don’t think so.

Liya has opened my eyes to my own folly, and made me ask myself a question that I think every person of faith should: “If you were told to denounce your belief at a cost to your freedom, or even your life, would you do so?"

Truthfully, I don’t know. I hope I won’t. I hope that at the moment of truth, I would be strong enough to say out loud, “I would never denounce Christ.”

We, who live far away from the northeast, take for granted, the fact that we can practice our faith without fear. We hear stories of persecution, but easily brush them aside because we are far removed from the vicinity of oppression.

But every once in a while, a Liya comes along to remind us that our faith is a treasure to be guarded jealously.

Martin Luther King Jnr is quoted to have said: “If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

What are you willing to stand for? What will you refuse to give up? It could be anything apart from your religion - your voice, your integrity, etc.

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At some point, we all would have to make a choice to stand for something, or fall for anything. Hopefully, it won’t be at the mercy of monstrous gunmen!

So, am I Christian? Yes, I am. Will I be at Mass this Sunday? Maybe…maybe not. But will I stand for what I believe in, when my time comes? By God, I sure hope so!

Let’s keep Liya and all others abducted by Boko Haram in our prayers; including the remaining Chibok girls. May they all come home…soon!

This opinion piece was written by Buchi Obichie.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of Legit.ng.

Mixed reactions trail Boko Haram's release of Dapchi girls - on Legit.ng Street Gist:

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