NEITHER LEAH SHARIBU, born 16 years ago, nor her parents, ever contemplated that their dear daughter would be in terrorist enclave when she attains age 15 and 16. That would never be the wish of any loving parent for their child. That has turned out, in the past 400 days, to be Leah Sharibu’s fortune due to unanticipated incidence.
February 19, 2018, 5:30pm, Nigerian local time, 110 school girls aged between 11 to 19 years were abducted by terrorist group, Boko Haram, from Government Girls Science and Technical College, GGSTC, Dapchi, Bulabulin, Yunusari Local Government area, in Nigerian Yobe State, north east Nigeria.
Nigerian government, deployed its Airforce, Military and other security agencies in search of the abducted Dapchi school girls. Government included expert negotiators to secure the release of the girls unharmed by the terrorists. March 21, 2018, government announced the release of 106 abducted children – amongst them were 104 Dapchi school girls – two of the children were not students.
Leah Sharibu, then 14 years old, the only Christian among the abducted school girls, was not released. She was denied freedom by the terrorist for her refusal to convert to Islamic faith. Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Information Minister, promised government would do everything within its powers to secure the release of Leah Sharibu. Mohammed said the girls were released unconditionally.
Social media was, Tuesday, agog with messages of “Happy 16th Birth Day” to Leah Sharibu. Nigerian government also got knocks for not doing enough to secure the release of the lone girl. She marked her 15th birthday in captivity last May, and now in May 2019, marking her 16th birthday, still in Boko Haram captivity, despite government promises to secure her release.
How soon Leah Sharibu would re-join her family from the terrorist enclave remains anybody’s guess. Government seems no longer proactive in securing her release – except making promises, which is no longer been taken seriously.