By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja – The Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, says the Buhari administration will not give up on the safe return of Leah Sharibu.
Leah Sharibu, student of Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School, Dapchi, was kidnapped along with other rescued students by a faction of Boko Haram terrorists in Feb. 2018.
Speaking to a group of journalists on Saturday in Abuja, Shehu said: ‘‘Instead of giving up, the government is carrying forward processes that should hopefully yield her release by her captors.”
The presidential spokesman was responding to worrying cycle of speculations on whether Leah Sharibu, the kidnapped Dapchi school girl had been harmed by her abductors.
He told reporters emphatically that ”much of what is written about the girl in the press is false news.
“Lines of communications remain open with the kidnappers, ISWA, to secure the release of Leah Sharibu.
‘‘Contrary to false reports, she is alive – given assurances from our security agencies -, and the government is committed to her safe return, as well as all other hostages to their families.
“Kidnapping for ransom should never be encouraged. This means not capitulating to the demands of terrorists: refrain from rewarding their heinous crimes with payment.
‘’With the abduction of loved family and friends, the government understands how difficult these time are for them, but government is pursuing many options to ensure the safe return of Leah Sharibu.
“We must commit to law and communication, using the breadth of strategies at our disposal: legal initiatives, stakeholder cooperation, involvement of all relevant parties and the use of the latest hostage negotiation techniques.
‘‘Kidnapping for ransom is rising across the Sahel. We must – collectively – make sure we implement best practice to prevent its exploitation.”
While appealing for patience in dealing with the challenge posed by Leah Sharibu’s captivity, the Presidential spokesman assured that ”the administration is fully conscious that any misstep on a delicate issue as this can be costly.”