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Five years on, Leah Sharibu still not free, family cries

The parents of one of the abducted Dapchi girls that is still in capitivity, Mr Nathan and Mrs Rebecca Sharibu, have continued their call on the Federal Government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, to fulfill its promise and secure their daughter’s freedom.

They regretted that, with a week to the general elections, none of the presidential candidates had made a commitment on what to do to rescue her.

Today, February, 19, marks exactly five years since Leah and 109 other girls were kidnapped when the Boko Haram gunmen invaded their community and had no other mission than to abduct the female students of Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State.

While others were released by the terrorists following negotiations, Leah, then 14 years old, is still being held captive because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.

The parents made this known at a prayer session organised to commemorate Leah’s fifth anniversary in Boko Haram’s captivity, in Abuja.

Others present are the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Archbishop Daniel Okoh; the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama; John Cardinal Onaiyekan and a representative of the Presidency.

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The spokesperson of the traumatised parents and President of Leah Foundation, Dr Gloria Puldu, said, “We are inviting the Christian community in Abuja to join us to mark the day Leah Sharibu turns five years in the hands of ISWAP Boko Haram.

“We are also demanding that the presidential candidates should make clear promises about what they would do to secure the release of Leah Sharibu who represents all those in captivity in the hands of Boko Haram. They have not made a commitment to her freedom.

“We are expecting that we will collectively as a body of Christ petition heaven asking for the release of Leah as well as asking for a righteous leader to be voted into power who will not break promises he makes.

“Leah Sharibu will never be forgotten nor forsaken. We call on all Christian women in Abuja to join us in prayers and to speak out on behalf of our girls.”

Puldu said the Nigerian government had not done enough to free Leah and other Christian girls and women who experience sexual abuse and slavery in the various camps of Boko Haram in Nigeria.

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He said, “Most of these Christian girls and women, including a few Muslim girls, are held against their will. The international community needs to do more to free these girls and women. The trauma their parents and families go through is harrowing.”

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