The Presidency has assured Nigerians that Leah Sharibu of the Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School, Dapchi, who was abducted by Boko Haram in February 2018, is still alive.
For that, government says it has not relented in working hard to secure her release so that she can reunite with her family in due course.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, told reporters in Abuja that the Buhari administration will not give up on Leah’s safe return.
‘‘Instead of giving up, the government is carrying forward processes that should hopefully yield her release by her captors,” Shehu said against the background of fresh concern over her safety.
He said that much of what has been written about the girl in the press is false.
According to him, “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 times are for them, but 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, 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.’’
Appealing for patience in dealing with the challenge the case poses, the Presidential spokesman assured that the administration is fully conscious that any misstep on a delicate issue as this can be costly.