Parents of Leah Sharibu, the only Dapchi girl still being held by Boko Haram terrorists have called on Nigerians to pray for her safe return as she marks her 16th birthday today.
Mrs. Rebecca Sharibu in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Sunday said they (parents) would fast and pray today (Monday), adding that Nigerians should join them in offering special prayers for her safety and timely return.
“Today May 14, our daughter, Miss Leah Sharibu, will be 16 years. If she were here with us, we would have been celebrating her 16th birthday with her.
“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 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 Mr Buhari 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 so 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 (tomorrow) hold a world press conference in Damaturu, Yobe State capital, to press for the release of Leah Sharibu.
Secretary of the Dapchi Parents’ Association, Mr Bukar Kachalla, said this in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Sunday.
Kachalla said apart from prayers, the world would know about the poor handling of Leah and the released Dapchi schoolgirls’ issue by the state and federal governments.
“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.
“It’s unfortunate that even the state government has not deemed it expedient to pay us a condolence visit over the death of five of the girls let alone providing psychological support to the girls, most of whom came back traumatised,” he said.
The secretary also said that United Nations Children’s Fund had sponsored 20 of the released Dapchi schoolgirls to continue their studies at 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 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 released later by Boko Haram for allegedly refusing to renounce her Christian faith.