The family of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirl Leah Sharibu yesterday again pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to secure the release of their daughter who has been in captivity of the Boko Haram terrorist group since February 19, 2018. The plea came on the back of social media reports that the Christian schoolgirl could have been killed by his captors. The Federal Government has debunked the claims and described the reports as “absolute fake news.”
Miss Sharibu’s mother, Rebecca yesterday asked the government not to allow her daughter to be killed by the terrorists.
She spoke at a press conference organised by the Leadership Empowerment Advocacy Humanitarian (LEAH) foundation in Abuja.
According to her, after this week, her daughter would have spent one year in the captivity of the terrorists.
On February 19, 2018, Boko Haram terrorists stormed the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State and kidnapped 110 girls.
The Federal Government, through a back-door negotiation in March of the same year, secured the release of 104 of them. While five of the girls were said to have died, Leah Sharibu, the only Christian girl among them wasn’t released because she refused to renounce her faith.
Mrs. Sharibu urged Buhari not to renege on the promises he made to her by ensuring that her daughter is released.
Rebecca, who broke into tears while speaking in Hausa language said: “I am the mother of Leah and I am here begging the government not to forget my daughter. I want the government not to forget the promise made to us that my daughter would be set free. The president called me and we spoke on phone. He assured me that Leah would come back and that the government was working hard on it.
“He also sent three ministers who came and assured me that my daughter would return. After that, it was silence because we haven’t seen Leah. By next week, my daughter would have spent a year in captivity. That is why I am begging the president (she burst into tears… ) not to forget the promises made to me by ensuring that my daughter is freed.”
Dr. Gloria Puldu, who is also a representative of Leah’s family, said the family was aware that this is a political season and would not want the issue to be politicised because of how sensitive it is. She, however, pleaded with the government to secure Leah’s release before February 19. She called on Nigerians to pray for the freedom of Leah, Chibok girls and others in captivity.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed described as “fake news” the report in the social media that Sharibu had died in captivity.
In a statement yesterday, the minister said that the rumour of Miss Sharibu’s death, which surfaced just a few days to the presidential election, was another ploy by the opposition to tarnish the image of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and exploit primordial sentiments ahead of the polls.
“It’s absolutely fake news. There is nothing like that. I think it’s part of the opposition’s strategies to throw everything at the administration and at the president. I think everyday they are realising the hopelessness of their position.
“Everyday they are amazed by the support Mr. President is receiving from every part of the country and they have decided that they are going to spread falsehood, inflame passion and make this election a Muslim-Christian affair or North-South affair, but people are not listening to them,” Mohammed said.