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Leah Sharibu: Recent Reports Confusing, Disheartening, Unsubstantiated Rumors– Parents

Beg Tinubu to act fast, say Buhari didn’t fulfil freedom promise

Parents of Leah Sharibu on Thursday broke their silence on the insinuations concerning the marital status and whereabouts of their daughter describing such thoughts as both confusing and disheartening.

They wondered why they should believe unsubstantiated rumors and scant information that “local security sources made this revelation in a report.”

The spokesperson for the parents and President of Leah Foundation, Dr Gloria Puldu, made the clarification in a statement she sent to The PUNCH, following insinuations that Sharibu already had two children and had married another man after reportedly divorcing her first husband.

While calling on President Bola Tinubu to act fast, they recalled that till he left office on May 29 2023, President Muhammadu Buhari did not act on the promise he made to free Leah Sharibu two years after her abduction, adding that the international community had abandoned Leah and others still being held captive.

“The global community seems to have forgotten Leah’s plight (and other girls like her) and allowed Nigeria to devolve into the chaos that it is currently in. No one is demanding accountability or transparency from Nigeria, but continues to give billions of dollars in aid and relief. Leah remains a captive to a militant religious group within Nigeria without any apparent knowledge of her whereabouts”, they said.

Leah Sharibu was one of the 110 female students of the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, who were abducted on February 19, 2018, by Boko Haram terrorists.

While others were released by the terrorists following negotiations, Leah, then 14 year-old, is still being held captive because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.

The PUNCH reported that there were insinuations that Leah Sharibu held by members of Islamic State West Africa Province has “remarried” another terrorists’ commander, after purportedly securing a divorce from the first ‘husband’ forced on her.

Leah, after the purported divorce from one Abdulrahman, it was alleged, was remarried to another ISWAP commander in the Lake Chad area named Ali Abdallah.

But her parents described the allegations as confusing and disheartening.

The statement by Puldu reads, “Recent reports on Leah Sharibu, the young girl taken captive by ISWAP terrorists over five years ago, is both confusing and disheartening. It’s confusing because there have been unsubstantiated rumours and scant information regarding the whereabouts of Leah. There were a few reports by those who were released or had escaped claiming that she might have been married off and given birth to two children. No pictures, audio or video has ever surfaced and, If anything, these were assumptions based on her age and condition of captivity.

“Why should we believe, “Local security sources made this revelation in a report”? If they have intelligence on Leah’s whereabouts and any information, then where are the Nigerian armed forces? Why isn’t the government involved in securing her release?

“It’s disheartening because only so often do we hear anything on Leah Sharibu. On the two-year anniversary of Leah’s capture, President Buhari said that, “…we redouble our efforts for Leah’s return, we can never allow the terrorists to divide us…”. Nathan and Rebecca Sharibu are asking what happened to that promise? Buhari left office without fulfilling that promise of rescuing our daughter, Leah. Our family remains grief-stricken by our daughter’s capture and ongoing imprisonment, even as the Nigerian government has been unsuccessful in securing her release.

“In March 2020, Leah’s father, Nathan Sharibu pleaded, ‘I have not heard anything from federal, state and local governments since my daughter was abducted. I am even confused now. I need your assistance to put pressure on the Federal Government to do something about the release of my daughter.’

Puldu said it had been so sad that abductions of students were still ongoing even in the new administration of President Bola Tinubu.

She said, “About a week ago we woke up to the news of students abducted from Zamfara. This is very shameful and disheartening to Nigerian parents. Despite the terrible economic hardship, parents still have to grapple with the safety of their children in school. We are calling again with a very strong and loud voice on the current government led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to please wake up to its very primary responsibility of safety and protection of the lives and properties of Nigerian citizens.

“We demand the rescue of Leah Sharibu and all others who had in captivity in the hands of terrorists.”

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