…Assures govt won’t relent to ensure her release
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – THE Federal Government, Wednesday declared that it had not abandoned efforts to rescue the abducted Christian Dapchi School girl by the Boko Haram insurgents, Miss Leah Sharibu although government said that negotiation with the terrorists group was tourtous and complicated.
Leah Sharibu has been in the captivity of Boko Haram terrorists since February 19, 2018 when she and 111 other girls were abducted in Dapchi school, Yobe state.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed while fielding questions from journalists who raised concerns over the fate of the Christian girl that was withheld by the insurgents because she refused to denounce her Christian religion to embrace Islam said that negotiation with the insurgents all over the world was always a tourtous one because it was not a face to face discussion.
Leah Sharibu and President Buhari
He assured that government had not given up hope as negotiations were still going on daily to secure her safe release.
According to him, “I think Mr. President actually addressed that issue in Washington and my position is always the same that we are yet to resolve the issue of six girls.
“111 girls were kidnapped, 105 were returned and we are busy on daily basis asking and negotiating and asking what happened to those five officially at least and then what is delaying the young girl Leah Sharibu.
“Negotiations with insurgents are quite tortouus and complicated atimes but I can assure you we are not leaving her to her fate and those who should are daily busy working on her release.
“Anybody who negotiates with insurgents and terrorists in the world will know that is not a direct face to face negotiation like we are doing.”
Sharibu, whose 15th birthday was marked by her family on Monday, was not released along with her mates one month after the kidnapping because she reportedly rejected the demand of her abductors that she denounce her faith and become a Muslim.
Not a word has been heard since then from the Boko Haram insurgents who made a big show of returning the abducted girls to Dapchi in a convoy of vehicles, and even addressed crowds in the town, without a confrontation from security forces.
Government said the insurgents were not attacked because it reached agreement with them not to harm the girls but return them safely in exchange for a ceasefire from the armed forces.
Sharibu’s continued captivity has been eliciting concern from Nigerians who demand more positive action from government to ensure her release, along with the remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls still with their abductors.
The case of Leah has been given a religious dimension where it was alleged that it was part of Islamisation agenda.
The Leah issue also came up prominently during talks between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Donald Trump, in Washington earlier this month.