The life of Leah Sharibu matters. The Buhari administration must be seen to be doing its utmost to rescue the girl.
When the tragic news of the mass abduction of another set of schoolgirls broke on February 19 and the subsequent safe return of 104 of them less than a month after, many Nigerians were encouraged to nurse the high hope that the only remaining girl in the custody of the abductors would soon regain her freedom, too. But that was not to be. Unfortunately, five of the schoolgirls that were part of the 110 initially abducted died in the tragic incident.
It is six about months now and Leah Sharibu, the only Christian girl amongst the students of Government Girls’ Science School, Dapchi in Yobe State who were adopted by a faction of the Boko Haram terrorists, is yet to return home. In the interim, all kinds of conspiracy theories have gained ascendancy, making hope to give way to despair and even the possible fear of her death.
However, the recent video of her plea for rescue broadcast by an online news portal has left Nigerians with hoe of her rescue. The young schoolgirls were abducted from their dormitories and carted away to their abductors’ nefarious destinations without any detection or resistance whatsoever. The Dapchi abduction was executed almost the same way the over 200 schoolgirls were abducted from the Government Girls’ Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State. It was a big blow to the nation’s resolve to ensure security of lives and promote the girl-child education.
Now that a video of Miss Sharibu has surfaced from the blues in which she made a passionate plea to President Muhammadu Buhari and all concerned to come to her urgent rescue and help her regain her freedom, the Federal Government must do its best to rescue her. The picture of Sharibu in the video was heart-wrenching and depressing. The only glimmer of hope though, is that the video, has confirmed that she is still alive. Her parents have affirmed that the image seen in the video and the voice heard on it belong to their abducted daughter, Leah Sharibu.
READ ALSO: SCM tasks FG to release of Leah Sharibu
The Presidency has revealed that government is, indeed, in the process of authenticating the video to conform that the person seen in it is Leah Sharibu. While we accept that the verification process is necessary, especially in dealing with the insurgents, we advise that government must not waste this latest window of opportunity to rescue the young girl and end the abduction saga.
Although the motive of the abductors for releasing the video is not known, there are speculations that they might use it to negotiate and make more demands from the government. We say this in view of the timing of the release of the video. Perhaps it is primed to exact maximum pressure on government to achieve a predetermined end. The demands of the terrorists often leave government and its intermediaries with difficult options. Government must find a way to remain on top of the situation. The life of Leah Sharibu matters. The Buhari administration must be seen to be doing its utmost to rescue the girl.
READ ALSO: Dapchi Abduction: Buhari administration has failed to tackle insecurity, insurgency – House member
Negotiation to free Leah Sharibu will demonstrate government’s premium on life. The government must use the case of Sharibu to demonstrate that every life matters. Apart from Sharibu, government should also rescue the remaining Chibok schoolgirls and other persons still in the captivity of the insurgents.
As President Buhari rightly noted upon his inauguration in May 2015, the tragedy of the Boko Haram insurgency can never be regarded as closed until the very last of our abducted citizens are rescued.