Friday Olokor, Abuja
Parents of Leah Sharibu, who was abducted two years ago by Boko Haram insurgents, have said the Federal Government has been deceiving Nigerians and the international community with promises of rescuing her from captivity.
The spokesperson for the family and President, Leadership Empowerment Advocacy and Humanitarian (LEAH) Foundation, Dr Gloria Samdi Puldu, explained this in an interview with THE PUNCH.
She said Nathan and Rebecca Sharibu were still in great pains because Leah is still not home.
“Born on May 14, 2003, Leah Sharibu, the young Christian girl who refused to renounce her Christian faith has had her 15th and 16th birthday while in ISIS-WA captivity, this is a reproachful memory. Will she spend another birthday in captivity?
“It is impossible for any parent to keep hearing different hurtful reports about their daughter and not become heartbroken. It is even more traumatic to hear that she has been forced into motherhood in captivity,” she stated.
According to her, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), should rise up to his responsibility of rescuing Leah like he did when he ensured the freedom of all other Muslim girls abducted with Leah just a month after their abduction.
She was responding to enquiries on the update about Leah Sharibu whose 17th birthday would be on May 14.
The PUNCH reported that Leah Sharibu was one of the 110 female students of the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, who were abducted on February 19, 2018, by Boko Haram terrorists.
While others were released by the terrorists following negotiations, Leah is still being held captive because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.
She said that an aid worker from Plateau State, Jennifer Ukambong, who was released in January, 2020 after staying nearly one month in Boko Haram captivity, had said Leah Sharibu was living somewhere close to Lake Chad.
“Ukambong also said Mrs Alice Ngaddah, Miss Grace Taku and Leah Sharibu who were abducted at various times by the terrorists were all doing fine in the forest. Jennifer said she does not know the specific location but they say it is close to Lake Chad,” she stated.
While describing Leah Sharibu as a bold and courageous child who had stood boldly and courageously in defence of her faith, the UNIJOS don told the Nigerian government to know that Leah would never be forgotten in captivity as “she represents the face of those who are persecuted for their religious beliefs and the girl-child in the North-East who is being denied education.”
She said, “Will Leah Sharibu spend another birthday in captivity? If there is sincerity on the side of the government, then let us see them fulfil their promises. It seems that the government simply wants to make Nigerians and the international community who demand the release of Leah to be quiet.
“Therefore, they are always claiming that negotiations are going on to secure her release. This is very unfortunate that we are still in great pains because Leah is still not home. We keep hearing all sorts of rumours about her condition in captivity. It is very painful.
“For the commemoration of Leah’s third birthday in Boko Haram captivity, we ask the Nigerian government to take action and fulfil the so many promises they made to the Sharibu family and to all Nigerians.
“Nigerians are waiting, now that the world has seen that Chadian soldiers have cleared Boko Haram from the Lake Chad area where Leah Sharibu is suspected to be. The question begging for answer is, where is Leah Sharibu?”
Puldu called on everybody to continue to pray for Leah and to pressurise the Nigerian government to take action and fulfil their promises to secure Leah’s release.