January 27, 2020

Nigerians react to Leah Sharibu’s motherhood

Leah Sharibu

Leah Sharibu

Leah Sharibu

By Sam Eyoboka

There have been angry reactions from the Christian Community over the news that teen Christian female captive of Boko Haram, Leah Sharibu, who is spending more than 700 days in captivity has given birth to a baby boy for one of her captors.

Leah Sharibu a Christian schoolgirl aged 14 at the time of her capture, is the only remaining Dapichi schoolgirl still held hostage.

On February 19, 2018, at 5:30 pm, 110 schoolgirls aged 11–19 years old were kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorist group from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi located in Bulabulin, Yunusari Local Government area of Yobe State, in the northeast part of Nigeria.

The governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Gaidam, blamed Nigerian Army soldiers for having removed a military checkpoint from the town. Dapchi lies approximately 275 km (170 miles) North-West of Chibok, where over 276 schoolgirls, mostly Christians, were kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014.

The governor complained about the withdrawal of army troops from Dapchi allegedly just hours before the abduction, without informing either the local police or the state government in advance.

ALSO READ: Leah Sharibu hasn’t denied her faith, says Northern CAN

Initially, the army remained silent regarding the complaint. Days later the army made seemingly contradictory claims attempting to explain its withdrawal.

The army claimed that it had withdrawn its forces from the town due to the absence of evidence of any Boko Haram activity in the general vicinity and that at the time, it had formally handed over Dapchi’s security to the police prior to its withdrawal.

The Yobe state police commissioner strongly denied the army’s claim that his department had been formally informed by the army of the army’s withdrawal, and no proof of any such police notification was provided by the army.

One month after the episode, Boko Haram released more than 100 of the schoolgirls it abducted, returning them to their village in Dapchi.

Waving the black and white flag used by the Islamic State and wearing balaclavas, military fatigues and ammunition belts, members of the group released most of the girls they had abducted in Dapchi early on Wednesday morning.

On 19 February armed militants pretending to be soldiers herded the girls into trucks and escaped the way they came uninterrupted. The Nigerian government was initially slow to act but then said it would negotiate with the group for the girls. It has denied any ransoms were paid.

READ ALSO: Release Leah Sharibu with or without baby – Northern CAN tells FG

The only Christian girl among the Dapchi schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram was not freed along with her school mates because she refused to renounce her faith.

Leah Sharibu refused to accept Islam, resisting the entreaties of her classmates to pretend to do so, her parents learned from snatched conversation with her friends.

Christians including her father, Nathan Sharibu expressed anger over the development, The father of abducted Dapchi Schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, has reacted to the news making the rounds that his daughter has given birth to a baby and has been married off to a commander of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

In a phone conversation with our correspondent late Saturday night on the breaking news of the 16-year old girl’s forced marriage and eventual delivery, Mr. Nathan Sharibu who was unaware of the story prior to that moment, said he would rather not make any comment on the issue.

“I have not heard that and I don’t want to hear any such news”, he told Vanguard angrily.

Mr. Sharibu maintained that his primary concern is to see his daughter return alive and will, therefore, not give any credence to any rumours.

The Revd, Gideon Para-Mallam in his reaction said; “Leah’s update story may be breaking news to the media but it’s not to some of us working on this issue as many of you know.

“I got an inside briefing since end of November 2019 and December 2019 regarding Leah, the pregnancy and forced conversion to Islam, etc.

“Then more updates came in last week. We have managed this information for the protection of her parents but the press will always be the press.

“There is more the media may not know but I will continue to keep such confidential for the same protection of her parents.

“Please let’s pray for Leah’s parents. Let’s also keep praying for Leah herself who needs every emotional, psychological and physical support at this hour.”

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Emmanuel Ogebe of the US Nigeria Law Group said, “Last week alone, Andimi, CAN Chair Michika, was beheaded. Same week University Student Ropvil was executed.

“He is from the same place as the two Plateau aid workers executed a couple of months ago. Also last week, Killer Fulani Herdsmen massacred 13 people in their community.

“Then add Leah’s news of childbirth from rape in captivity now amongst others. Fifty years after Biafra, Nigeria is again at war except we don’t know it.

“The number of people killed in Nigeria this year already is more than those killed in the missile conflict between US and Iran that almost launched World War Three including collateral casualties of the bombed airplane!

“Nigeria remains the third most terrorized country in the world despite claims of the defeat of Boko Haram. There are no more terror groups, real or imagined, in Nigeria today than before President Buhari was sworn in.

“We just pray that Nigerians do not wake up one day to hear that Nigeria has surrendered to Boko Haram.”

Akaraiwe Ajovi Ikeazor said; “I simply don’t believe that the child who refused to convert to Islam and allowed 104 of her schoolmates leave her in the camp of the jihadists saying she cannot live with herself if she renounces Christ; that this child has now been Islamised.
“She may have been raped but she is not Islamised. Certainly not voluntarily.
“Her presence in the camp of the enemies is the presence of the Lord in their midst, and because she is there, some of those Islamists will get saved, and the Lord shall judge the rest.”