Exactly 12 months after she was abducted, Leah Sharibu is nowhere to be found. Her parents, relatives, neighbours, and well-wishers came out and marked her abduction.
Below is a run of four stories from four newspapers (two are online newspapers). We believe it will guide our readers to offer a prayer for the teenager, Nurse Alice Ngaddah, over 100 Chibok girls, and others in the captivity of the insurgent group, Boko Haram.
We also hope it will propel the federal government and other stakeholders into action.
By The Nation
One year after, Dapchi community cries for release of Leah Sharibu
Friends and members of Dapchi community in Yobe on Tuesday gathered at the home of Leah Sharibu, who was abducted exactly a year ago by Boko Haram terrorists with other girls at Government Girls Science Technical College.
They demanded for the release of Leah, the only Christian girl left in captivity for refusing to deny her Christian faith.
Muslims and Christians also offered prayers for the release of Leah at her parent’s home in Dapchi.
Secretary of Association of Parents of Abducted Dapchi Girls, Kachalla Mohammed regretted the Federal Government’s efforts to rescue have not yielded dividends.
Kachalla noted the government needs to act fast to save her from Boko Haram and bring joy to the traumatised family.
“We are fasting and praying in the mosques and churches for Leah. Her parents are also praying in Yola.
“We have organised ourselves to show our displeasure over the slow rescue of Leah from Boko Haram by the Federal Government. We are looking forward to Leah’s releases
“We have gathered at Leah’s House in Dapchi today to show our solidarity to the mother and parents of Leah. As it is today, we don’t know the kind of condition that Leah is inside. Whether she is alive, health or sick, we don’t know.”
He went on: “I recalled three months ago, Mr. President sent a delegation to this House to come and promise to the parents of Leah and up to now, we have not seen Leah come back to her parents.
“Today is 19 February, 2019 exactly one year when Leah was taken with her mates.”
Some of the residents, who spoke with The Nation, also expressed displeasure over the inability of the Federal Government to secure the release of Leah a year after giving so many assurances to the parents and the community.
“I personally cannot understand or believe that like joke this little girl has spent one year in the hands of Boko Haram and nobody is sure yet what will happen despite all the people that President Buhari has sent to Dapchi here to the family. This is not fair,” Adamu, a resident said.
Another resident, who identified himself as Yerima, informed that Dapchi will remain an unhappy community without the return of Leah.
“We also feel sad that this girl has not been returned to us. It’s a very sad development for us.
“This community will not have its complete joy until the day Leah will be released. Many parents were happy the day the other girls were returned but today, the news of Leah always make our joy seem incomplete,” Yerima said.
Leah’s aunty, Hyelakumi Mannaseh, amidst tears appealed to Boko Haram to free her niece, while calling on the Federal Government do what it takes for Leah’s freedom.
“We are pleading with Boko Haram. Let them release Leah as they released other. We are calling on the Federal Government to do something very fast so that the poor girl will be released.
“It is like we are all in captivity with Leah in this one year. We are not happy.
“We don’t know what we are doing, sometimes; we are behaving like mad people because of the condition that Leah is inside.
“We are still sure that Leah is not dead. We hope the death rumours is not true. We are still expecting to have her back by the grace of God Almighty,” She said.
The Pastor of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Rev. Musa Ibrahim said the entire Church in Dapchi is grieving over the development.
“We are crying to government to hear our cry so that the family and the entire community will rejoice,” he said.
Chairman of Association of Parents of Dapchi Abducted Girls, Bashir Manzo, called on the Federal Government to pay whatever ransom Boko Haram demands to free Leah.
“The president should expedite actions on the release of Leah. Let the president pay whatever Boko Haram is requesting so that this little girl will be set free.
‘’They would have done anything within their powers to release this girl if it’s their own child,” Manzo said.
By The Sun
I see her every night in my dreams, Leah Sharibu’s father says one year after her abduction
As Miss Leah Sharibu, the student of Government Girls Science Secondary School, Dapchi, Yobe State, clocks one year in captivity today, her father, Mr Nathaniel Sharibu, has said it is only through dreams that he interacts with his abducted daughter.
Pained by the situation, Sharibu urged Nigerians, particularly the media, to impress it on the Federal Government to fulfil the promise it made to the family last year to ensure the release of Leah from the hands of Boko Haram.
The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a faction of terror group Boko Haram, had abducted Miss Sharibu along with other students of the school on February 19, 2018.
Following the abduction and efforts to secure their release, 104 of the abducted students were reported to have been released, with Leah held back in captivity by the terrorists for supposedly refusing to renounce her Christian faith.
In the last update on Leah, ISWAP had said Leah will remain in captivity as a slave, having earlier given a one month ultimatum to the government to secure her release through ransom or have her killed.
But speaking with Daily Sun from Adamawa, Mr Sharibu said: “I have to tell Nigerians that the thing (Leah’s abduction) was very, very painful. I am totally discouraged due to the type of situation because it is one year on the dot today since my daughter was abducted and nothing was done. They (Federal Government) are just promising, promising, promising, promising, but nothing I see on ground. I am even confused now. All the family is in confusion now.”
Recalling the events of February 19, 2018, Mr Sharibu said he was in his base in Yola, Adamawa State, when his loved ones contacted him and broke the news that Boko Haram invaded his daughter’s school and made away with some students.
Mr Sharibu added: “Later in the morning, they discovered Leah was among them. We are very, very sad. I can’t explain it. It is beyond explanation. Very sad!”
Mr Sharibu however expressed hope that his daughter is still alive since he was yet to receive any rumour that his daughter is dead.
Mr Sharibu further told Daily Sun: “Almost every night, I see Leah in my dream. I saw Leah coming to me, saying ‘Daddy, how are you?’ As we used to joke with her, I used to deal with her. Unfortunately, when I woke up, I see no Leah.”
On correspondence with the government, Sharibu restated his earlier remarks that he had never heard from the government, except last year when President Muhammadu Buhari called his wife, Mrs Rebecca Sharibu, on phone and assured her that he would do his possible best to see to the release of Leah.
According to Mr Sharibu, “He delegated three ministers to my house, the same October last year, to assure us that they were doing their possible best to see that Leah returns safely. From there, I did not hear anything from them and I did not see any action from them. They are just doing their politics,” Leah’s father bemoaned.
He urged the media to remind the government that it is exactly one year since Leah has been in captivity, even as he pleaded with the government to fulfil the promise made to his wife and family to bring her back home.
By Premium Times
#Dapchigirls: Leah Sharibu marks one year in captivity
The abducted Nigerian school girl, Leah Sharibu, on Tuesday marked one year in her kidnappers’ custody.
Sharibu was abducted alongside 109 other girls from their secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19, 2018.
While most of the girls were released, Sharibu has was denied freedom after refusing to renounce her Christian faith for Islam.
She has been in the custody of the terror group despite repeated pledges by President Muhammadu Buhari and the federal government to ensure her freedom.
Taking to its Twitter handle on Tuesday, the Bring Back our Girls (BBOG) movement wrote that Miss Sharibu is 365 days in captivity.
The group asked why Miss Sharibu was left behind in the hands of her abductors.
The group further questioned why Nigerians and the government are quiet about Miss Sharibu.
Four days after their abduction last year, President Buhari had promised to ensure the safe return of all the abducted students.
Mr Buhari also vowed that his administration would ensure the abductors of the Dapchi girls were apprehended and brought to justice.
“I also instructed the security agencies to deploy in full and not spare any effort to ensure that all the girls are returned safely, and the attackers arrested and made to face justice,” the president had said.
A month after their abduction, the federal government secured the release of 105 of the girls, following what was described by the then Director-General of the State Security Service, Lawal Daura, as a series of ‘behind-the-scene discussion.’
Four of the kidnapped girls were reported to have died at the hands of their captors, who entered freely into Dapchi town on March 21 to return the freed girls.
In a statement shortly after their release, Mr Buhari pledged to ensure that “the lone girl was not abandoned”.
“The Buhari administration will not relent in efforts to bring Leah Sharibu safely back home to her parents as it has done for the other girls.
“President Buhari is fully conscious of his duty under the Constitution to protect all Nigerians, irrespective of faith, ethnic background or geopolitical location and will not shirk in this responsibility,” the statement signed by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu had said.
Three days after the release of the 105 Dapchi girls, the then Inspected-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, was quoted as saying Miss Sharibu may be released by her abductors.
“I am supposed to go to Dapchi today, but because I learnt that that schoolgirl, Leah, may be released today, that was why I have to shelve my trip to the town,” Mr Idris said.
Mr Idris, however, explained his stance when the girl was not returned.
The same terror organisation had abducted 276 girls in April, 2014 at a boarding school in Chibok, Borno State, during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
About 57 of the girls were later reported to have escaped while 107 girls have so far been freed by the group, leaving 112 of the girls still held captive.
Yet one year after the negotiated return of the Dapchi girls, neither the federal government nor its security agencies have succeeded in ensuring the safe return of Miss Sharibu.
By Daily Post Nigeria
One year in captivity: Rev Para-Mallam blasts Nigerian leaders for abandoning Leah Sharibu
As Leah Sharibu clocks one year under the captivity of Boko Haram, Reverend Gideon Para-Mallam of the Citizens Monitoring Group (CMG), which works with Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, has described as “tragic and a political miscalculation” for the Presidential candidates in the country to dodge talking publicly about their respective commitment to free Leah and others in captivity.
He said their uneasy silence on the plight of Leah and other captives shows how the nation’s political class is “careless” about the people they seek to govern.
Para-Mallam, who is the founder of (CMG), in an exclusive interview with DAILYPOST in Jos, the Plateau State Capital, said, “Never did I imagine that the heroine of the Christian faith in the 21st century- 15-year Old Leah Sharibu, would still be in captivity, completing 365 full days on February, 19 2019, making it one year. It’s unbelievable but a reality we are accepting and coping with. Not easy!
“I can imagine if some of us feel this way, what her parents must be feeling right now. I want to restate over and over again that; Leah Sharibu and others in captivity will never be forsaken and forgotten”, he maintained.
According to him, “Leah is today a living history before our very eyes in this day and age. Who could have thought that an icon of the Christian Faith in the 21st Century – a symbol of faith resilience would emerge from North Eastern Nigeria?” He asked.
“Even more intriguing from the geo-political space identified as the epicenter of Boko Haram insurgency? Yet God allowed it!
The Clergy said, “God is making a powerful statement through the captivity and courage of Leah Sharibu. Christianity can never be destroyed by Boko Haram or any force on earth; spiritual or physical, temporal (short-term) or long-term.
“It is tragic and a political miscalculation for the Presidential candidates to dodge talking publicly about their respective commitment to free Leah and others in captivity.
“Their uneasy silence on the plight of Leah Sharibu and others shows how Nigerian politicians careless about the citizens they seek to govern.
He, however, said they can still redeem themselves by issuing public statements.
“The postponement of the first part of the election should be seen as a period of grace for them to act on this matter”, he said.
“But one may not be too hard on them. Is it any wonder that they could all be clueless?
“That to me is the tragic reality staring them and us as a nation in the face.
“We appear to live and lead in a country that suggests we have lost control.
“Therefore, Leah’s case has become a matter of conscience for our leaders, both those in office and those seeking to enter office”, he admonished.
“My prayer remains that God will not only free Leah but through her, others such as Alice Ngaddah and several unknown captives; Muslims and Christians alike, that they all will regain their freedom.
“My appeal and question to Boko Haram is; Where is your humanity? He asked.
“Imagine if Leah were your daughter, would you like what you are doing to her? Against her will and consent? God never forces any one to convert!”
Photos of protests in London led by former Presidential aide, Reno Omokri. Courtesy of Daily Post