- Wants presidential aspirants to make her plight campaign issue
By Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The family of Leah Sharibu, the teenager abducted by Boko Haram terrorists, has petitioned the federal government to ensure the release of their daughter before February 19, which marks exactly one year of her abduction.
On the night of February 19, 2018, 14-year-old Leah Sharibu was kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists from her school, Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School in Dapchi, Bursari Local Government Area of Yobe State alongside 111 other girls.
All of the girls who survived the kidnap were later freed by the Boko Haram sect except Leah, who reportedly refused to denounce her Christian faith.
Her mother, Mrs. Rebecca Sharibu, who was all tears at a press briefing on Sunday in Abuja calling for the release of her daughter as promised by the federal government, pleaded that President Muhammadu Buhari should do everything possible to ensure the release and safe return of Miss Sharibu.
The distraught mother, who spoke in Hausa, recounted that President Buhari spoke with her on phone and gave her his assurance of Leah’s release which was backed up with the visitation of a high-powered federal government delegation that had three ministers led by the Minister of information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
She said: ‘I have come before you and the federal government to plead that you don’t forget Leah. The president spoke with me on phone and encouraged me not to worry, and with the assurance that my daughter will be released. Three ministers also visited me and gave me assurance but till today, I haven’t heard anything, hence my coming before you to plead.
“Leah is just 15 years old. The beauty of a promise is in its fulfilment. Please save my daughter. I plead with you to help me,” she lamented.
In the same vein, Ambassador, IFES World Assembly, Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam, said there was the need for presidential aspirants to tell Nigerians what they hope to do to ensure Leah’s release and that of others in captivity if she is not released before February 19.
He noted that this is a campaign era, adding that the silence from all the candidates have not been encouraging, hence he advocated that her issue should be used at campaigns.
He affirmed that the issue of religion is a human rights issue, noting that there is no reason for Leah to remain in captivity as a result of her refusal to renounce her faith and conviction without fear.
He said: “We will love to hear from all the presidential candidates what exactly they are planning to do to bring Leah to freedom if for any reason she is not released before the 19th of February. We want to hear her name and story becoming a campaign issue.
“The silence from all the presidential candidates about Leah and others in captivity is not encouraging. So we are using this appeal and thus campaign season to hear what the presidential candidates have to say about Leah’s freedom. It’s important for all Nigerians and the global community,” he added.
Sharibu’s denomination has called on all Christians to seek the face of God through prayers and fasting, on February 19.