I rose from my bed this morning thinking of how well will Leah Sharibu be in the forest of a thousand demons around her. An African proverb goes thus ’’When a child is forgotten in the midst of feasting elders, he coughs to remind them of his presence’’. Leah Sharibu and the kind-hearted people of this nation and beyond are coughing that Leah Sharibu has stayed long in captivity and must be rescued from the abductors. Sharibu Leah is one of the one hundred and twelve (112) students wickedly abducted in Dapchi, a town in the Northern part of Nigeria by the callous terrorists of the Islamic State West Africa Province(ISWAP), a faction of Boko-Haram on the 19th February 2018. Those abducted were mainly Muslims by faith save Leah a Christian. A month later, others were released but Leah, adamant of not denying her faith becoming a Muslim was denied of her freedom and held bound in the enclave of sorrow and anguish till now!!
The poor ‘girl’ had spent her three birthdays in the midst of her captors in captivity. By the 14th of May 2021 as information had she would clock 18 years old.
Ever since her abduction in her school at Government Girl’s Science Technical School, Dapchi Yobe State, Leah has been denied of her fundamental human rights of freedom of movement, education, and good social interaction but subjected to crude and unsolicited relationship, harsh weather conditions, and barbaric lifestyle among the heartless and marooned captors who had chosen to live among animals in the jungle.
This piece is not really meant for the Boko-Haram sect or the likes but a passionate plea to the government and directly to the President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The President has the capacity and everything in his power to see to the release of Leah Sharibu from the gulag of her captors. Surprisingly, President Buhari had once raised the hope of Nigerians when he made a visit to the USA in April last year that Leah would soon be released from captive. Also, in August of the same year 2020, Leah Sharibu spoke via a video clip directly with the President pleading for her release but up till now, Leah is still on the lap of her captors.
Nigerians are saying, ‘’what is really happening with the single case of Leah in captive when others have been released?
In December 2020, the Nigeria Defence Headquarters’ Director of Information Major John Enenche in a media interview said, he was oblivious of any negotiation for Leah’s release, even though he added that maybe negotiation ‘could be at the higher level.’
This appeal to the President is for two reasons: First, as the President of Leah Sharibu herself; second, as a father and grandfather, having children as young and as much older than Leah. Of recent, over seven hundred girls were released from the captivity of this Boko –Haram. What does it take to release Leah with them? I think what was done to release those girls should also be done to release and relieve Leah Sharibu of her agony.
Information had it that Leah Sharibu has given birth to a second child in captivity, having been forced to accept Islam and coerced to marry a Boko- Haram Commandant against her wish!!
Leah is crying for her freedom despite being a mother of two children now. She’s nostalgic of her traditional home, her parents, siblings, friends, and schoolmates. Leah should not be allowed to rotten in the jungle. She must be released to continue with her studies and reunited with her parents. Her life ambition should not be shattered.
Mr President, it isn’t that you cannot see the solution. It is that you cannot see the problem. The life of somebody out here is tied to the life of Leah. Denying her of her liberty is denying others in her generation brighter opportunities ahead to move Nigeria forward.
Leah’s parents have been subjected to high blood pressure thinking of their daughter’s vacant position in the family. Their hope is becoming forlorn as they shed hot tears each time they ruminate on their predicament. The trees around Leah’s parents are shedding tears because of a child that has been stolen and yet to be found.
If somebody outside Nigeria could be so kind to have volunteered to replace Leah Sharibu in the forest if allowed, how much more you, Mr. President who has the powers to make a commando pronouncement of her release? The appeal is for you to use your human kindness and mercy blood running in your veins to please take a cursory look at this poor young ‘girl’ and make arrangements for her unconditional release to her parents.
Henry More, said,’’ ‘’In agony or danger, no nature is atheist. The mind that knows not what to fly to, flies to God’’. Even though those captors are inhuman and deadly, they can still honour your request if passionately asked for. Please Mr. President, give Leah Sharibu her 18th-year birthday present by working out her release for the world to celebrate you. God protect Leah Sharibu, God bless our President, God bless Nigeria.