Buhari Has Not Abandoned Leah Sharibu, Others – BMO
President Muhammadu Buhari will not relent in his efforts to ensure that Leah Sharibu regains her freedom soon even as she marked her 16th birthday in Boko Haram captivity, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has said.
The group says it finds nauseating and regrettable, a false narrative of the Buhari administration’s disinterest that is being circulated by some individuals.
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said that it is disheartening that some people are giving the impression that the President was not concerned that Leah remains in captivity 420 days after her schoolmates were released by their captors.
“It is a regrettable fact that it is more than one year since Boko Haram fighters held back Leah Sharibu after releasing 109 other students of Government Girls Science Secondary School, Dapchi, Yobe State who were abducted on February 19, 2018.
“It is also on record that the insurgents freed the other girls following the Federal Government’s intervention while Leah was held back for her alleged refusal to renounce her Christian faith.
“We hail her perseverance and strength of character at such a young age and as she marks her 16th birthday, we are reaffirming what Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said about a month ago; President Buhari has not abandoned Leah and the others still being held by Boko Haram.
“We recall that as at when the President assumed office for the first time in 2015, 276 school girls from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State had almost spent one year in Boko Haram custody after they were abducted from their dormitory on April 14, 2014.
“But in line with his pre-election promise, he has so far succeeded in bringing back 107 of the girls even after groups like the Amnesty International had given up hope on the release of the girls on the grounds that they may have been sold off,” it added.
BMO expressed surprise that some Nigerians had even insinuated that the President was not keen on Leah Sharibu’s release because of her Christian faith.
“Nothing can be more preposterous like the suggestion that President Buhari had not been concerned about Leah’s plight because of her refusal to renounce her faith.
“All the abducted Chibok girls were Christians but it took a President who knows that he is the President of both Christians and Muslims to ensure that the first set of the school girls-21 in all-were released on October 13 2016, which was more than two years after the abduction that shook the world.
“President Buhari also approved negotiations that led to the release of 82 others from their Boko Haram captors about seven months later in May 2017. All those girls that have now been re-integrated into the society are Christians, so there’s no reason for the President to refuse to push for the release of the lone Dapchi girl still in custody on the basis of her faith.
“We make bold to say that just as the President has not forgotten Leah, he would not abandon the remaining Chibok girls as well as other Nigerians who are still in the hands of the insurgent group.
“And as Garba Shehu assured in the statement last month, on behalf of his Principal, there is progress on efforts to get the lone Dapchi girl out of captivity, we also know that President Buhari will not rest until Leah and others held against their will by the insurgents are reunited with their families”.
BMO urged Nigerians and concerned members of the international community to exercise a little more patience and allow the Buhari administration to complete what it had been working on since the Dapchi abduction.