Messrs Yusuf Ibrahim and Solomon Nehemiah, two of the University of Maiduguri lecturers freed from Boko Haram captivity, have expressed gratitude to God for their freedom.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the federal government on February 10 announced the release of 13 persons abducted by the insurgents in Borno, sequel to negotiations anchored by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The freed persons, three lecturers and 10 women, spent over 200 days in the insurgents’ captivity.
Messrs Nehemiah and Ibrahim told journalists after a special thanksgiving service organised in their honour at the COCIN Church, Maiduguri on Sunday that God enabled their freedom.
“We are excited, we are happy because God is real. He answered our prayers, (and prayers of) our relations and the nation at large.
“We were informed Nigerians were praying for us and today is testimony, we are alive, celebrating life with freedom and that is the greatest thing to us; we are free and giving praise to God.
“For those still in captivity, we are praying let them keep to their faith, the way the Lord did it for us: He will do it for them and believe one day they will also be free.
“I believe in prayers and people prayed for us; we pray that the entire nation come together and pray for those in captivity so that one day they will be free. Everybody deserves to be free in this life.
“We trusted God that one day we will be free again and He has done it after 201 days in captivity.’’
Mr Nehemiah said that they resorted to fasting, prayer and total submission to God during their stay in the hands of the insurgents, adding that the spiritual impact motivated them to keep hope and survive.
For his part, Mr Ibrahim commended Nigerians for the prayers and support during their period of incarceration by Boko Haram insurgents.
He also commended the federal government, ICRC and other organisations for their efforts towards their release.
“Our captors were not hostile to us, they gave us food; they did not kill us and I thank them for keeping us alive,” he said.
Hassana Ibrahim, a sister to Mr Ibrahim, said her family was “in great joy and overwhelmed’’ over the release of her younger brother.
She said that the event was organised to enable them show their appreciation to God for His blessings and protection over Mr Ibrahim.
“My family lost hope of seeing him again because of the circumstances leading to his abduction; we were confused.
“We thank God and President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to secure their release. We are really grateful to all the parties involved,’’ she said.
Ibrahim Ibrahim, a brother to the released lecturer said: “At the initial stage the family grieved but we committed all to God; God manifested and brought them out of captivity safely.’’
Mr Ibrahim prayed for the release of other persons in Boko Haram captivity as soon as possible.
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