*Says negotiations with Boko Haram tortuous
By Chesa Chesa
The Federal Government on Wednesday declared that it had not abandoned efforts to rescue Miss Leah Sharibu, the Christian schoolgirl still left in the captivity of Boko Haram terrorists since February 19, 2018 when she and 110 other schoolmates were abducted in Dapchi, Yobe State.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told State House correspondents who raised concerns over her fate, that tortuous negotiations were still on to secure her safe release.
Sharibu, whose 15th birthday was marked by her family on Monday, was not released along with her mates one month after the kidnapping because she reportedly rejected the demand of her abductors that she denounce her faith and become a Muslim.
Not a word has been heard since then from the insurgents who made a big show of returning the abducted girls to Dapchi in a convoy of vehicles, and even addressed crowds in the town, without a confrontation from security forces.
The government said that the insurgents were not attacked because it reached agreement with them not to harm the girls but return them safely in exchange for a ceasefire from the armed forces.
Sharibu’s continued captivity has been eliciting concern from Nigerians who have demanded more positive actions from the government to ensure her release, along with the abducted Chibok schoolgirls, even as the issue came up prominently during talks between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Donald Trump, in Washington earlier this month.
Mohammed further pointed this out while stressing that government has not slacked at all in efforts to account for the fate of six of the 111 abducted girls as the terrorists returned only 105 of them.
His words: “I think Mr. President actually addressed that issue in Washington and my position is always the same that we are yet to resolve the issue of six girls; 111 girls were kidnapped, 105 were returned and we are busy on daily basis asking and negotiating and asking what happened to those five officially at least, and then what is delaying the young girl, Leah Sharibu,” he said.