President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Saturday said Leah Sharibu, the student of Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School in Dapchi, Yobe State, who was kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists in February 2018, is still very much alive, assuring that the Presidency would not give up on her safe return
“Instead of giving up, the government is carrying forward processes that should hopefully yield her release by her captors,” said Shehu, while speaking to a group of journalists in Abuja.
He discountenanced the speculations that Sharibu might have been harmed by her abductors, describing much of what is written about the girl in the press as 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,” he said.
He appealed for patience in dealing with the challenge this case poses, assuring that the Buhari administration is fully conscious that any mis-step on a delicate issue as this could be costly.
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