By Jonathan Lois
Following the disturbing news of Leah Sharibu Motherhood status released by Sahara reporter last weekend, the Global Centre for Humanitarian Services Peace and Development (GLOHSPED) joined the global community to sympathise with her family and demand for her freedom irrespective of her status.
The call was made through the president of the group – Mr. Collins Ogokeh-Green. The report alleged she was forced to accept Islam and married to Boko Haram commander responsible for her baby but the spokesperson of the family- Dr. Gloria Puldu stated that the desire of her family to have her alive and safe- with or without a baby. Since the release of the news, Nigerians took to social media to express their displeasure over the continued abandonment of Leah by the federal government in the hands of the heartless and barbaric terrorist group.
Leah Sharibu was among the 110 schoolgirls of Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi in Yunusari local government of Yobe State that was abducted by the Boko Haram terrorist group on February 19, 2018. The federal government on March 21, 2018 announced the unconditional release of 106 school girls (inclusive of 2 other persons) except Leah Sharibu while other reports alleged that 5 other girls died while in Boko Haram detention. Media report suggested that her detention was due to her refusal to convert to Islam. Since it is barely few weeks to her 2years in detention having celebrated her 16th birthday on May 14, 2019, the world is waiting for her freedom rather than disturbing report of her motherhood status. Mr.Ogokeh-Green stated that the abduction just like the case of over 276 kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls in 2014 and some activities of the terrorist group over the years occur in similar pattern- initial uncertainties over the actual number of casualty (affected victims), delayed response by the security agencies, aftermath attack blame game and unfulfilled promise of the abducted girls release by the government to mention a few.
Nigerians can readily recall that the Yobe state government initially announced 94 missing schoolgirls while 105 and 111 were reported by the chairman of the school forum and police respectively. The blame game was the accusation of the military by the state police and government of withdrawal of army troops allegedly hours before the Dapchi abduction incident without prior information and it took days for the army explained absence of Boko Haram activity in the area as justification for its action having handed over to the local police. The state police commissioner denied the military claim and stated lack of proof of any notification whatsoever. Evidence from online Wikipedia report cited an intelligence document dated February 6, 2018 obtained by Sahara Reporters which highlights expressed concern of an army general regarding a possible imminent attack by the terrorist group in neighbouring Damaturu the state capital which questions and contradicts the military claim. The government on it part has failed to secure the release of Leah and about one third Chibok girls abductees that are in Boko Haram custody after several assurances.
Mr. Ogokeh-Green pointed out that since her abduction, there have been reports of attempted escape of Leah Sharibu and her recapture by the insurgents narrated by the released school girls, an audio circulated on social media in August 2018 in which She was pleading to the federal government for her freedom and support to her family from Nigerians as well as report from her family in October of same year of threat of death by the insurgents should the government not meet their demand. To this end, civil society group, human rights activists, media and international community continued to stand in solidarity with Leah and others detained by the insurgents and call on government to ensure her release.
In conclusion, he submitted that as a civil society organisation (CSO) we do not support the payment of ransom which enrich the terrorist but suggests that alternative measures should be deployed to secure her release..