Tuesday, February 20, 2019 06:15 AM /
Bukola Akinyele for Proshare WebTV
Precocious, fearless, and dogged Leah Sharibu is a teenager abducted from Government Girls Science Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State. She was corralled like heifer with other girls by a murderous and deadly religious Nigerian terror group Boko Haram. Today marks a year that Leah has been kept in captivity because of her commitment to a simple thing ; her faith. She refused to abandon Christianity and adopt the religious belief of her abductors. She refused to capitulate in the face of bloody tyranny.
Despite the fact that her classmates returned to Dapchi after negotiations between the Federal Government and the terror group which was brokered by the International Red Cross Leah Sharibu did not come back with them.
Her conviction as a Christian and her refusal to renounce her faith was described as a major reason for her continued captivity.
Leah displayed an indomitable and resolute spirit, knowing that in Nigeria there is freedom of religious association.
Unfortunately, she has still stayed in captivity twelve months after her kidnap with the rumour mills laden with stories about her possible death an outcome the federal government has denied on several occasions.
A year after her abduction observers find it difficult to come to terms with the trauma her parents must have experienced coming to terms with her absence.
Leah represents the challenge of Nigeria’s investment in human capital development, which is threatened in the North.
Girl-child education is critical to addressing the over 13 million out-of-school children population in Nigeria, and Leah like any other girl has had bright dreams of getting sound education.
That dream has been shattered (at least for now) until she is rescued from the clutches of the zealots.
Her continued captivity questions the role of government at the Federal and State levels in securing the lives of citizens.
The halting efforts of the Federal and State Government is recognized but a lot more needs to be done to gain the release of this innocent teenager.
As today marks the first anniversary of her kidnap, the advocacy of the Bring Back Our Girls movement, the Christian community led by the Christian Association of Nigeria, and the Dapchi community in their calls and prayers for Leah to be released needs to be echoed until even the heavens shake in vengeful anger.
We remind President Muhammadu Buhari of his promise to the parents of Leah, assuring them of her release to walk his talk.
Advocacy must continue for Leah and we commend international groups that have carried out awareness programs for her release.
Our prayers are with Leah and we ask the Lord God to continually watch over her as she resolves never to be cowed by the religious bigotry of others and refusing to give her captors the satisfaction of breaking her indomitable spirit.