PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday made a phone call to Leah Sharibu’s mother, Rebecca Sharibu, and reaffirmed his resolve to rescue the teenage girl who has been in Boko Haram captivity since February 2018.
Leah Sharibu was one of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram from their the Government Secondary School, Dapchi, Yobe State, but while all the other girls were released a month later following negotiations by the federal government, the little girl was refused freedom because she refused to be converted to Islam.
According to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari spoke with Leah’s mother and assured her that her daughter would return safely.
“I convey my emotion, the strong commitment of my administration and the solidarity of all Nigerians to you and your family as we will do our best to bring your daughter home in peace and safety,” Buhari was quoted as telling Leah’s mother.
The president’s call came two months after Nathan Sharibu, Leah’s father pleaded with President Buhari to rescue his daughter. The Boko Haram had released Leah’s picture, alongside an audio clip of the girl begging to be rescued, and when contacted, Mr Sharibu confirmed that the voice in the audio clip was his daughter’s.
“I can confirm to you that the voice that spoke is that of my daughter Leah. It is her voice no doubt,” he said at the time.
“I am happy that I can hear my daughter speak. This has given me hope that she is alive. I am also happy to see her recent picture displayed.
“My request is the same with my daughter’s, the government should play their part now by intensifying efforts to secure her freedom.”
Later in September, Boko Haram released a graphic video showing the gruesome execution of one of their hostages, a humanitarian aid worker with UNICEF, who was abducted in Rann, Borno State, earlier in the year.
The insurgents, in that video, threatened to execute more hostages, including Leah Sharibu, if the federal government continues to block off their offer for negotiations. The development generated a major conversation on the social media with many Nigerians calling on the president not to allow Leah Sharibu to die in Boko Haram captivity.