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Mother of the girl, Rebecca Sharibu, pleaded with the government and Boko Haram to release her daughter, saying that her daughter cannot be forced to embrace a religion unknown to her.


This came as the Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and the Senate yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the immediate release of the only Dapchi school girl as well as Chibok girls still being held by Boko Haram.

The only Christian student among the abducted Dapchi girls, Miss Leah Sharibu is still being held by the insurgents because of her faith and refusal to convert to Islam.

Of the 110 students abducted from Government Girls Techncal Science College, Dapchi, 104 had been released, five were said to have died in the process, while the insurgents are holding on to just one, Leah Sharibu.

This call came on a day the Federal Government asked the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to bury its head in shame for saying the Dapchi girls’ abduction and release were stage-managed.

Mrs Sharibu said her daughter’s colleagues have shared with her how the 15-year-old Leah was stopped at the last minute from regaining her freedom.

“But my heart was broken on Wednesday morning when I searched through the released girls and could not set my eyes on my dear daughter, Leah,” Mrs. Sharibu said as tears streamed down her face.

Mrs. Sharibu just returned from hospital, having fainted after receiving the news that Leah, her first child and only daughter, was not among those released.

She sat within her compound — a small home fenced with clay and thatch sheets in a corner of Dapchi — with two cooking pots steaming next to her on charcoal stoves.

She said: “If Leah is home, she and her little brother would attend to everything in this compound, she would not let me do anything.

“What her school mates that returned told me was that my daughter (was told she) must recite the Kalima Shahada (the Islamic profession of faith in one God), and she does not know how to recite it.

“So they told her that if she didn’t know how to recite it, then she should come down from the vehicle. She had already boarded the vehicle alongside others that were ready to come home. So she was asked to go down and join some three other females that they said they met where they were kept.

“They said my daughter would only be brought back home the day she knows how to recite Kalima shahada.

“She insisted that she does not know how to recite and that she was not brought up as a Muslim. That was why she was held back. She was asked to go and stay with those three women who were also captives there.

“She then pleaded with her friends that if they eventually made it home successfully, they should inform us, her parents, to continue to help her pray for God to protect her and bring her home safely as well, that whether she survived or not, she still need prayers.

“My concern and question to the government is that since we were told that the negotiation was done for all the schoolgirls, why did government accept that only my daughter be left behind when others’ were freed and even brought home?

“So I am begging the federal government of Nigeria, if the negotiation was because they loved all the girls as their own, they should do everything to help release my own girl.

“To the Boko Haram members, I have nothing to say other than that they should have pity on my only daughter and release her. It was not her fault that she is a Christian, I know that in this world, everyone choose the path of faith he or she has chosen in worshipping God. There is no way one could be forced to do what he or she does not know. It is not possible.”

Also speaking, Leah’s father, Mr. Sharibu, said he was away in his home state, Adamawa, when he received  good news on Wednesday morning that his little girl and her colleagues were on their way back home.

He said:  “Half way on my return journey home, I received a call that the girls had arrived and only my daughter was left behind because she refused to convert to Islam. I became sad. To make matters worse, I was called again to be informed that the mother was unconscious and was in the hospital.”

He said he would not be happy until his daughter was rescued and brought home like her mates.

“Nigeria must do all within its powers to bring back my daughter, the same way they did to others. I really thank and appreciate the people of Dapchi community, especially how they rallied round us at this time of great sorrow.

“I am from Hong in Adamawa State, I got married here in Dapchi and all my children were born here,” he said.

He said he does not believe in the existence of Boko Haram, adding that the group, especially the ones that abducted his daughters, appeared to him like agents of politicians.

“I don’t know Boko Haram; I have never seen Boko Haram and I don’t believe there is anything like Boko Haram in this country. What I see and feel about them is they are politicians or group used by politicians to threaten lives and endanger the lives of our children.

“To me, there is nothing like Boko Haram. If truly they are Boko Haram, they wouldn’t have come here and abduct our girls and on their own, return these girls in broad daylight and no one was there to confront them,” Sharibu lamented.



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