Nathan Sharibu, father of Leah, has expressed displeasure that the Federal Government has abandoned him and the rescue of his daughter from Boko Haram’s captivity.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), while reacting to Leah’s continue incarceration, called on government, security agencies to ensure that she is rescued back home to her parents in peace.
Speaking yesterday on TVC early morning news programme through a telephone conversation monitored by The Nation, Nathan pleaded with government to do everything possible to rescue Leah, adding that the situation was weighing him down.
On the night of February 19, 2018, 14-year-old Leah was kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists from her school, the Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School in Dapchi, Yobe State, along with 110 other girls and a schoolboy under a questionable circumstance.
One year now, Leah is still in captivity despite several protests and efforts by government and stakeholders in the education sector.
Her father said: “The Federal Government assured me that this administration would do its best to rescue my daughter. Besides that, President Muhammadu Buhari sent two ministers to my house in Dapchi, Yobe State to assure us that all that she would return home safely.
“Since then, I have not heard anything from the Federal Government again. The other bodies that have been deeply concerned about the development are only the churches and Muslims that are trying their possible best. The government has been silent on this issue. I am only pleading with government as I always do that they should do their possible best to see that my daughter returns safely.
“She is still a young girl and all of us have children in our homes. You can imagine my situation since then. Government supposed to do something urgently. Today is one year that she has been in captive.”
CAN President Rev. Samson Ayokunle called on Nigerians to pray for her safety while in the Boko Haram’s captivity.
Ayokunle said CAN has met with President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene on how Leah can be rescued.
The CAN boss, who spoke with The Nation through his Special Assistant (Media & Communications), Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, said: “We also recalled that the Federal Government later began a negotiation with the abductors for the return of the victims. And one month later, that decision yielded results as the terrorist group drove the abducted students back into the heart of Dapchi on March 21, 2018, as agreed with the Federal Government.
“The sight was unbelievable as terrorists entered the town in triumph and had the temerity to even harass their parents for sending their children and wards to school against their teachings. No single security operative was in sight to call them to order.
“To worsen the situation, it was not all the 111 abducted girls that were returned. We later learnt that five of them had died while the only Christian girl among them, Leah Sharibu, was denied freedom because of her faith!”
The statement added: “It is reprehensible, wicked, ungodly and condemnable that this innocent girl is being persecuted because of her faith. Every opportunity CAN leadership has to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari is being used to prevail on his government to get her released. There was even two occasions when the terrorists reportedly signaled their readiness to release Leah, if the government is ready to pay her ransom, but there was nothing being done in this regard.
“All that were returned were said to be set free on the payment of the ransom though this was denied, but nobody buys the denial. And even if no kobo was paid and now the terrorists are willing to negotiate, what sacrifice is too much to get her free?
“We once again call on the government and all security agencies to wake up from their slumber. A government that cannot protect the citizens is a failed government.”