Democracy Day Speech: Buhari keeps mum on Leah Sharibu, Chibok girls still with Boko Haram

Leah Sharibu
Leah Sharibu

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday failed to comment on the status of his administration’s effort to rescue the Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, still in Boko Haram’s captivity.

He also did not speak on the status of the over 100 Chibok girls still with the Boko Haram over four years after they were kidnapped.

Instead, Mr Buhari chose to celebrate the ‘degradation’ of the sect.

“Today, the capacity of the insurgents has been degraded leading to the re-establishment of authority of government and the release of captives including, happily, 106 Chibok and 104 Dapchi girls, and over 16,000 other persons held by the Boko Haram,” Mr Buhari said in his Democracy Day Speech.

The Buhari administration secured the release of about 106 of the Chibok girls kidnapped from their secondary school in Chibok, Borno State in April 2014 during the Goodluck Jonathan administration. The girls were released in negotiations with the sect. However, over 100 of the about 276 originally kidnapped are still believed to be with the terrorists.

Miss Sharibu was one of the 110 girls abducted by Boko Haram from Dapchi Government Science and Technical School, Yobe State, on February 21.

About 33 days after their abduction, the sect released 104 of the girls. Five were said to have died while Miss Sharibu was said to have been held back because she refused to denounce her Christian religion.

President Buhari had in the past assured Nigerians that he will not relent in his effort to ensure the release of the teenager whose 15th birthday was spent with her abductors. Over three months after her kidnap, however, the president failed to rekindle hope for her release or offer a status update in his speech.

This may not go down well with critics, especially some Christians, who have accused Mr Buhari of not doing enough to secure the release Miss Sharibu.

Addressing journalists in Abuja in March, spokesperson of the Congress of Northern Nigeria Christians, Larry Yammai, called on Mr Buhari to do all within his powers to rescue Miss Sharibu, tying the abduction to a ‘destruction project’ against Christians.

‘’The truth is very obvious that the destruction project of Boko Haram is very much targeted at Christians. CNNC strongly condemns this evil tendency and urges President Buhari to urgently intervene for the immediate release of this young girl,” Mr Yammai said.

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