—Says Buhari won’t give up on her safe return
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE Presidency on Saturday said that the Christian Dapchi Secondary School girl who was held by the Boko Haram terrorists for not renouncing her Christian faith, Leah Sharibu was still alive.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, stated this in an interview with a group of journalists in Abuja.
There have been speculations that Leah Sharibu, a student of Government Girls Science and Technical School, Dapchi in Yobe State that was kidnapped in February 2018 may have been killed by her abductors.
But clearing the air on the condition of the kidnapped schoolgirl, Shehu said that the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration will not give up on the safe return of Miss Sharibu.
According to him, ‘‘Instead of giving up, the government is carrying forward processes that should hopefully yield her release by her captors.”
He told reporters emphatically that much of what had been written about the girl in the press was false news.
He said, “Lines of communications remain open with the kidnappers, ISWA, to secure the release of Leah Sharibu.
‘‘Contrary to false reports, she is alive – given assurances from our security agencies-, and the government is committed to her safe return, as well as all other hostages to their families.
“Kidnapping for ransom should never be encouraged. This means not capitulating to the demands of terrorists: refrain from rewarding their heinous crimes with payment.
‘’With the abduction of loved family and friends, the government understands how difficult these time are for them, but the government is pursuing many options to ensure the safe return of Leah Sharibu.
“We must commit to law and communication, using the breadth of strategies at our disposal: legal initiatives, stakeholder cooperation, the involvement of all relevant parties and the use of the latest hostage negotiation techniques.
‘‘Kidnapping for ransom is rising across the Sahel. We must – collectively – make sure we implement best practice to prevent its exploitation.”
Appealing for patience in dealing with the challenge this case poses, the Presidential spokesman assured that the administration was fully conscious that any misstep on a delicate issue as this could be costly.