Boko HaramCrimePolitics

THE FORGOTTEN LEAH./Taiwo Ademola

THE FORGOTTEN LEAH.

How’s Leah Sharibu faring? Is she feeding well? What’s she being fed with? Sands, stones, sambisa plants(if there are any), pizza? Is she still a firm believer in “love your neighbor as yourself’? In essence, can she love as before? Or she has grown into an emotionless human? Wouldn’t she have been brainwashed, molested, and abused by “the lions’ in sambisa forest? What’s her mental condition like? How long does she cry? Does she even cry again? Has she become a potential suicide bomber? Has she become a mother? What kind of person has Leah Sharibu become in Boko den? Is the new Leah Sharibu the same as the old? How are we sure she is even alive?
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Most importantly, who is asking these questions? Her concerned parents, concerned government, concerned citizens, concerned international bodies…..? Who is concerned about Leah?
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Who is interested in her? Has she not become not more than piles of social media trends we remember when elections approach, and then throw into waste disposal once she is no longer of political use? I ask, where is Leah Sharibu?
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It’s been over a year now since this young and brave girl had been abducted along with other school girls in Dapchi. Leah Sharibu was the only schoolgirl among the 110 students abducted from Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, on 19th February 2018 that is still with the Boko Haram group.
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The federal government intervened through a behind-the-scene negotiations with the terrorist group so they could release the school girls. Incidentally, on 21’st of March 2018, 105 out of these girls were released while 4 of them were said have died in Boko Haram’s captivity. Leah (then 14 years of age), who happened to be a Christian was held back because of her stance in the Christian faith.
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On 3rd of October 2018, President Mohammadu Buhari was said to have put a call across to the mother of Leah, Mrs Rebekah Sharibu, reiterating the effort of his administration to see to the release of Miss Leah Sharibu. “I convey my emotion, the strong commitment of my administration and the solidarity of all Nigerians to you and your family as we will do our best to bring your daughter home in peace and safety,” the president reportedly told the mother of the abducted girl’. This is April 2019, and there seems to be not the slightest of indication that efforts are being made to get Leah out of Boko Haram’s captivity. Mrs. Rebekah Sharibu having waited for the return of her daughter and disappointed at the situation had cried out, apparently to remind Nigerians of the President’s promise to bring Leah back, and the need of Nigerians to hold him accountable for his promise. “The president spoke with me on phone and encouraged me not to worry, and with the assurance that my daughter will be released. Three ministers also visited me and gave me assurance but till today, I haven’t heard anything. Leah is just 15 years old. The beauty of a promise is in its fulfilment. Please save my daughter’, she had said with rather traumatic tone.
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Perhaps we’d be hard on those who did the negotiations with Boko Haram for being too negligent to consider the prioritization of the release of Leah, considering how sensitive religion can be in Nigeria. Perhaps we shouldn’t, considering how that it might not have been an easy feat to sit and dine with Devil’s incarnates. It’s hard to negotiate fairly when you are at the receiving end. In this case, the federal government seems to be the victim, rather than the one at a better advantage on the negotiation table.
But however sound this consideration might be, it doesn’t remove from the fact that the federal government, given recent silence over the matter is not only complacent, but also negligent to seeing to the release of the girl.
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The Buhari administration seems not to be in touch with the moral burden that’s been laid on it. If the administration has been mindful of it, they’d have prioritize the release of Leah Sharibu, and consequently see to his immediate rehabilitation and assimilation into the society. Getting Leah’s released in itself, is a way of exonerating this government’s name from religious fundamentalism with which it has been accused of in some quarters. A way of winning sworn enemies over, or even putting a seal in their mouth you may call it.
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If all the government is concerned about is making rhetorics for the sake of it, with no resultant action, then, there should be a reminder for them that rhetorics can’t fight terrorism, neither can it secure the release of Boko Haram captors, many of whom aren’t living as proper human being should. Action speaks louder than voice states the age long cliche.
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Politics is good, and playing it smartly isn’t about “unfettered talks’, but qualitative action, and in this regard, seeing to the security welfare of each citizens of the nation. Leah Sharibu is just one out of every citizens that has the right to be secured, protected by the Nigerian government. We can make all the media noise so international news media and agencies can rate the country’s governance and war against terrorism as top notch, but neither the citizens with functional memories, nor history will ever jettison the consequence of the government negligence since the primary purpose of the government isn’t to make the country look like a white washed tomb. Actions rings hollows in hearts, and in this case, whatever path of decision, action or inaction the government toll in seeing to Leah’s release will ring hollow, and it’ll either paint them bad or good.
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There is no reason to give up on Leah’s release. If anything, the government should attempt to work out plans for her release so courage and bravery wouldn’t be deemed an unrewarding and unpleasant action.
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We’d make our clime sane enough by helping to build psychological monument around Leah Sharibu in securing her release and making her the centre of the nation’s consciousness in the form of giving her national recognition and honour for bravery.
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The federal government will do itself a great deal of good by doing away with selective amnesia, waking up to its responsibility of seeing to this girl’s release, if for nothing, to celebrate bravery and so people in the north will not be afraid of sending their wards to school lest their case become like that Leah.
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In case you need the bio:
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Taiwo Ademola is a teacher, a house finishing entrepreneur and writer, he writes from Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

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