The only Dapchi girl still in the captivity of Boko Haram after the release of 105 others in March, Leah Sharibu turned 16 on Monday. Leah who was held back after the release of her colleagues for daring her captors by refusing to renounce her Christian faith and convert to Islam.
Speaking ahead of his daughter’s birthday through a local radio station in Jalingo, capital of Taraba State, Nigeria, her father Mr. Sharibu Nathan called on Nigerians to pray for his daughter’s return, he lamented the deafening silence of Nigerian government on the plight of his daughter.
In a separate interview with a national tabloid , Mr. Nathan said that, there has been no support of any kind from the government but from his community and church members. He said “I thank God because they (Community and Church) have been encouraging me, lifting me through their prayers, visitation and words of advice.”
“I have not heard anything from Federal, State or Local government 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.”
Mrs. Rebecca Sharibu who spoke via telephone on Sunday said “She is not with us and all we can do is fast and pray for her as a family and I want to appeal to all Nigerians and other concerned people around the world to help us pray for her safety wherever she is and for her return as well.
“President Buhari has seemed to have forgotten about Leah but we know God who brought her forth will not forget her. We believe that God is keeping watch over her and our prayers would be answered,” she said.
Mrs. Sharibu, who lamented the delay in negotiating the release of Leah when the 105 of the girls were returned within a record time, accused Nigerian President of not doing enough in the case of Leah.
“The President promised us that Leah would be released, but we wonder why it is taking him too long to facilitate her release as was the case in the release of the other 105 Dapchi girls.
“Mr. President knows the channel he used to secure the release of the other girls and he cannot tell us that he doesn’t know how to get Leah back to us. But it seems he has left us and Leah to our fate. No one is talking to us about her issue, not even the state government,” she lamented.
The parents, who thanked the international community, religious groups and notable Nigerians for their solidarity, called for sustained pressure on the Federal Government to ensure the release of Leah and other girls still in Boko Haram captivity.
Meanwhile, the parents of the released Dapchi schoolgirls will on Tuesday hold a world press conference in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, to press for the release of Leah Sharibu.
The Secretary of the Dapchi Parents’ Association, Mallam Bukar Kachalla said apart from prayers, the world would know about the poor handling of Leah and the released Dapchi schoolgirls’ issue by Nigerian government.
“We are going to tell the world our position about the government’s poor handling of Leah’s case on Tuesday at a world press conference in Damaturu.
“We were in Chibok recently to mark the anniversary of the abduction of their girls and we have collectively resolved to continue putting pressure on the Federal Government until the girls are all released.
The secretary also said that the United Nations Children’s Fund had sponsored 20 of the released Dapchi schoolgirls to continue their studies at the Turkish International School, Mamudo in Yobe State, calling on other organisations and public-spirited individuals to help sponsor more of the girls who had vowed not to return to the GGSTC, Dapchi.
Leah Sharibu was abducted alongside other 109 girls of the Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi in Yobe State on February 19, 2018, and was not among the 104 girls that were released later by Boko Haram for allegedly refusing to renounce her Christian faith.