Much earlier in the days of her terrorist abduction, there was a spirited attempt by the Federal Government acting through third parties to pay a ransom in a bid to secure the release of Leah Sharibu, but her abductors who had made the financial demand backed out when payment was offered.
According to knowledgeable government sources, the money was all ready to be delivered when the terrorists who had made the request for a specific amount totalling several tonnes of millions of Naira in hard currency, changed their minds and rejected any ransom.
While the channels of communication between top security agents of the government, third parties and the terrorists at times take more than a month to complete one line of messages back and forth, the FG reached an agreement after such a long communication procedure only to be turned back after an agreement.
In the circumstances, the FG determined to secure the release requested for an explanation as to the sudden refusal to receive the ransom by the terrorists only to be told by some of the third line communication channels that the terrorists decided they would never accept a ransom on Leah because they hoped to use her abduction to rankle religious passion and possibly cause a religious war in the country if they could.
According to the government source, “while the FG remains strongly committed to securing the release of Leah and all other identified and unidentified abductees, by any means necessary, the terrorists chose much earlier after Leah’s abduction to use her to fan religious embers and cause devastating division in the country. And that was why the terrorists rejected the ransom government security agencies prepared to pay for Leah’s release.”
The source explained further that top presidential officials still encouraged FG officials to remain actively engaged with the channels of communication and the negotiators until a positive resolution is secured “because the President has set a firm target and resolve to ensure the freedom of Leah and others by any means necessary.”
It would be recalled that 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 is located in Bulabulin, Yunusari Local Government area of Yobe State, in the northeast part of Nigeria.
The Federal Government of Nigeria deployed the Nigerian Air Force and other security agencies to search for the missing schoolgirls and to hopefully enable their return and on 21 March 2018, 104 out of the 110 abducted girls were released.
A total of 110 girls were originally kidnapped, but five did not survive the ordeal and one other – Leah Sharibu is still being held.