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There is hope for Leah’s return soon- Buhari assures

......Hints of mass Boko Haram surrender

Leah Sharibu

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that there is hope that Leah Sharibu will return to reunite with her family soon.

The only outstanding girl amongst abducted Dapchi secondary school girls has been held captive be her abductors for over one year since she was carried away amongst 107 others in February, 2018

President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement to mark the fifth year of the abduction of school girls of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, assured that he has still not forgotten their daughters who were kidnapped from their dormitory five years ago (April 14, 2014).

In the statement signed by Presidential Spokesman, Garba Shehu, the President reiterated his promise to the parents when he met them, at the beginning of his first tenure, that he would bring their daughters home.

“He is aware that this promise he made is the main reason the people of Chibok voted overwhelmingly for him in the February elections, and although his government has so far succeeded in bringing back 107 of the girls, the President will not rest until the remaining are reunited with their families.

President Buhari assured the parents that his administration is still on the matter.

Diverse efforts are being intensified to secure the release of the Chibok Girls, along with all hostages in Boko Haram captivity, including Leah Sharibu who was kidnapped from her school, Science Secondary School, Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19, 2018.

“On Leah Sharibu’s abduction, the interlocutors have reported encouraging progress so far” the statement noted

“The report reaching us says her return to her family has unfortunately been hindered by the fear of the militants.

Shehu however attributed the delays to what he described as “ worry that heavy military presence in areas where they previously moved about freely could affect their safety after they return her to the government.

He added however that “ at the same time, the military cannot jeopardise the security of the entire north-eastern region by halting their operations to accommodate Boko Haram’s fears.

“Leah Sharibu will be reunited with her family as soon as any conclusions are reached on a number of options being considered for her safe transportation.

According to him, “ The success of the Nigerian military in subduing Boko Haram is evidenced by the large numbers of militants who have surrendered recently, especially in neighbouring Cameroon and Niger.

“A similar mass surrender of militants is expected to happen soon in Nigeria.

“While Nigerian military operations are ongoing, the government is also engaging with the militants but the talks have been affected by the factionalisation of Boko Haram – with one group adopting a hard line attitude and intensifying attacks on Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, and another group engaging with the government for peaceful resolution.

President Buhari also uses this opportunity of the commemoration of the Chibok tragedy to commend the girls, now women, who have triumphed over it all.

“He sends special greetings to the 106 girls sponsored by the Nigerian government to continue their studies at the American University of Nigeria, Yola.

Buhari has also encouraged them to stay focused on becoming women who will inspire girls in Nigeria and around the world to triumph over the daily battles they face in a world that is often unfair to the girl-child.

He also extended best wishes to Chibok girls in other schools in Nigeria and around the world, especially Kauna Yaga Bitrus, who has excelled beyond expectations in her college in Maine, USA, and who is soon to receive a special ‘Against All Odds Award’ from her school.


Tony Ailemen, Abuja

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