By Umar Salam.
Mrs Rebbeca Sharibu, the mother of abducted Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, has dispelled speculations suggesting her daughter may have been killed by the notorious Boko Haram insurgents.
Mrs Sharibu, who reacted to a video released by Boko Haram where an abducted aid worker, Grace Taku claimed Leah and another abductee had been killed, remained hopeful of her daughter’s return.
She was quoted as saying, “no matter how long it takes, my hope is still alive that my daughter will come back alive from Boko Haram. I still look forward to that day and I am confident that she will return.”
Mrs Sharibu also lamented she was disturbed by the recent silence of President Muhammadu Buhari on Leah’s case.
“I am bothered by the recent silence about my daughter’s case, but I still want to cry to the President. I want our President Buhari to know that my eyes are still wet with tears over my daughter’s abduction. I will continue to cry to him, until my daughter returns to me”, she said.
The Presidency, while reacting to reports of Leah’s alleged death, neither confirmed nor debunked the claim.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed in a Facebook post that negotiations for the release of all those in captivity were still ongoing, adding that the Presidency had been briefed on the matter and action would be taken.
He wrote, “The Presidency has been briefed by the responsible government agency about the disturbing video showing our citizens, the humanitarian aid workers held captive. The Presidency has been given assurances that contact is being made and the captors are being talked to.
“Beside these aid workers, there are some others about whom this engagement is about-Leah Sharibu, a religious leader and all the others. These discussions have been ongoing even before this time and what this latest incident has done is to bring urgency to the efforts that the secret service is making.
Government is making contacts, in the hope that the captors will see reason to not visit hardship or even harm on these innocent individuals.”
Boko Haram had earlier released a video where an abducted aid worker named Grace Taku, called on the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and an International non-Governmental Organisation working in Borno State, Action Against Hunger, to rescue her before she is killed like Alice and Leah Sharibu.
Grace narrated in the video: “My name is Grace, I work with Action Against Hunger, an NGO in Borno state. My base is in Borno State. We went to work on Thursdays on the 18/7/2019 out of Damasak. On our way going back to Damasak by kinari, Chmbawa ward in Damasak, we were caught by these army called the Khalifas. They brought us here. But actually, we don’t know where we are but this minute, I want to beg on CAN, Christian Association of Nigeria because I am the only Christian among the six of us here. I want to beg that CAN should please do something about me to see how I can be released.
“I also want to beg the Action Against Hunger, Borno State. We are six here, all of us are staff, we went to work and we were caught on our way back from work. I beg ACF, we have families, and some of us have children. I am begging ACF that they should please do something that they will release us.
“I also want to count on Nigerians – our nation, we are Nigerians and we are also working for Nigerian. I beg that Nigerian Government should please. I am begging again please do something to see that we are released. Because this has occurred before in Red Cross where some ladies, Hauwa and Deborah were caught.
“They also asked to be released but because Nigeria did not do anything about it, they were killed. I am begging on behalf of all of us here that Nigerian should not allow such a thing to happen to us.
”It also happened again with Leah and Alice and because Nigeria could not do anything about them, they were not released. They were killed. I beg that Nigeria and our Organisation Action Against Hunger should do something and see that we are released.”