Three Years After: Where Is Leah Sharibu And Who Will Rescue Her From The Hand Of Her Abductors?
Hushed was the night on that fateful night of 19th February, 2018 when avengers of blood who take maximum delight in troubling the peaceful waters of the society abducted about 110 school girls of the Government Girls Science Secondary School, Dapchi, Yobe State.
According to news reports, few of the girls died while being held captive by their abductors and some others whose numbers were estimated to be about 104 were rescued after heated negotiations which happened among the duo of the government and the captors. Three years down the line, one by the name Leah Sharibu still remains in the hands of her captors .
The desperate refusal of Leah to submit to the whims, caprices and desires of her abductors which has been solely based on deny of her religious faith and beliefs have been the bane which is almost making it impossible for Leah to regain her freedom and be united with her family.
"I will not bow to your god, I will stand for the truth. It doesn't matter if you kill me, I am ready to die" are the clear and stern messages emanating from the vocal repository of Leah to her abductors.
At several times, Leah had passionately sent a message to the government to work maximally in securing her release. February 19, 2018 which seemed to have happened a long time ago for Nigerians. But for the victims and their families, it seemed to have been something that wouldn't go down into history speedily with the passage of time.
In few days to come, Nigeria and the world will be remembering and reminiscing the third year in which the teenager was taken into captivity. By logical calculation, Leah who was just 14 years at the period she was abducted will be seventeen years, making it three years of suffering, neglect and woes for both herself and her family.
The issue which seem to be the centrepiece of many discussions is the quest to know if Leah had been killed or alive. Even though all these issues are questions of which there hasn't been verifiable answers, Nigerians need undisputable facts that will prove in totality that Leah hasn't been slaughtered as a martyr by the insurgents. The light needs be shone on the #freeleahsharibu's hashtags. How do we justify the claim that education is valuable for the younger generation when Leah is till held captive for the singular offence of trying to acquire education?
The failures, woes and disappointments of the government which are the Products of prolonged silence, negligence and lackadaisical attitude are some of the many things which have forced many to doubt the power of the government in rescuing the abducted girl.
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had at several times promised to rescue the abducted girl and reunite her with her kinsmen. In separate occasions such as the armed forces remembrance day, independence day and other epoch events, promises and promises of how the government is facilitating the release of Leah emanate.
But what has the reality of things over time proved with respect to Leah's case? It has proven that the magic wand which should have been used has been broken by corruption, nepotism, tribalism and what have you. The memories of Leah Sharibu have been eroded. The responsibility of bringing Leah back from captivity has shifted from the hands of the government to the hands of individuals. Leah has been whimsically regarded as a prisoner of conscience rather than a legend whose actions are heroic and worth being celebrated.
What if Leah belonged to the class of the elite? Or if she was a member of the current cabinet? Wouldn't the government had gone extra mile and from pillar to post to secure her release? How then do we understand the correlation that exists between the government rehabilitating bandits and insurgents who are sworn enemies of the state and leaving a young legend to die in the hands of wicked men.
Isn't this ludicrous and worth reflecting on?
Just towards the end of last year, a citizen of the United States was abducted in the northern parts of the country. The United States government didn't spare a moment to ensure the rescue of the citizen. The government didn't wait a bit or deny the claims, Neither did it heap the blame on the abducted citizen for failing to comply with its directives with respect to travel outside the shores of America. What mattered most was that he had the blood of America running in his veins. He couldn't be left to find it's way home alone. The shepherd had to go on the mountains and valleys to seek for the lost sheep so the entire fold will be complete. The above is what we define as the characteristics of a successful government and not one founded on liars, deceit and sweet words. It is a government of the people for the people and by the people.
I believe the Nigerian government can borrow a leaf from America's action on the best measures to treat citizens who are the pillars of the society. Notwithstanding, the question needs be asked again Where is Leah Sharibu and who will rescue her from the hand of her abductors?