Senior special assistant to the president, media and publicity, Garba Shehu, says the Buhari administration is not relenting in its effort in securing the release of Leah Sharibu who has been in Boko haram captivity since Febuary 2018 for refusing to renounce Christanity-her faith.
She was a student of Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School, Dapchi, before been kidnapped alongside other students of the institution, majority of those abducted had been released by the insurgents except Sharibu whose whereabout is unknown.
While fielding questions from journalist on the matter on Saturday, August 31 in Abuja, The SSA Shehu said: ‘‘Instead of giving up, the government is carrying forward processes that should hopefully yield her release by her captors.” he maintained that Sharibu is still alive even though speculations are high on whether she has been harmed by the abductors. He opined that any contrary news on Sharibu is false.
His words: “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 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, 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.’’
He called on well meaning Nigerians and particularly her family to be calm and exercise patience, assuring that the current administration is taking steps based on precision and decorum to avoid any misstep because of the delicate nature of the matter.
In a swift reaction, Rebecca Sharibu, Leah’s mother said she is hopeful that her daughter is still alive and will return alive from Boko Haram captivity, adding that she looks forward to her safe return.