Following worrying reports suggesting that harm upon Leah Sharibu, the girl from Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School, Dapchi, being held by Boko Haram for refusal to renounce her faith, the Presidency on Saturday assured that line of communication is still open with her abductors.
Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement made available to the media in Abuja said the Muhammadu Buhari administration will not give up on her safe return of the schoolgirl held since February 2018.
Shehu said: “Instead of giving up, the government is carrying forward processes that should hopefully yield her release by her captors.”
The presidential spokesman noted emphatically that much of what is written about the girl in the press is false news.
He added: “Lines of communications remain open with the kidnappers, ISWA, to secure the release of Leah Sharibu.
“Contrary to false reports, she is alive – given assurances from our security agencies, and the government is committed to her safe return, as well as all other hostages to their families.
“Kidnapping for ransom should never be encouraged. This means not capitulating to the demands of terrorists: refrain from rewarding their heinous crimes with payment.
“With the abduction of loved family and friends, the government understands how difficult these time are for them, but the government is pursuing many options to ensure the safe return of Leah Sharibu.
“We must commit to law and communication, using the breadth of strategies at our disposal: legal initiatives, stakeholder cooperation, the involvement of all relevant parties and the use of the latest hostage negotiation techniques.
“Kidnapping for ransom is rising across the Sahel. We must – collectively – make sure we implement best practice to prevent its exploitation,’’ he said.
While appealing for patience in dealing with the challenge this case poses, the Presidential spokesman assured that the administration is fully conscious that any misstep on a delicate issue as this can be costly.