On Thursday, Leah Sharibu’s parents broke their silence on reports about their daughter’s marital status and whereabouts, calling such speculation “confusing and disheartening.”
They were perplexed as to why they should believe “unverified reports” and insufficient information that “local security sources made this revelation in a report.”
Dr. Gloria Puldu, the parents’ spokesperson and President of the Leah Foundation, issued the explanation in a statement following reports that Sharibu already had two children and had married another man after purportedly divorcing her first husband.
They urged President Bola Tinubu to act quickly, recalling that President Muhammadu Buhari did not act on his promise to free Leah Sharibu two years after her kidnapping until he left office on May 29, 2023, adding that the international community had abandoned Leah and others still being held captive.
“The global community seems to have forgotten Leah’s plight (and other girls like her) and allowed Nigeria to devolve into the chaos that it is currently in.
No one is demanding accountability or transparency from Nigeria, but it continues to give billions of dollars in aid and relief. Leah remains captive to a militant religious group within Nigeria without any apparent knowledge of her whereabouts”, they said.
Leah Sharibu was one of 110 female students from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State, who were kidnapped by Boko Haram militants on February 19, 2018.
While others were freed after discussions, Leah, then 14, is still being held captive because she refused to renounce her Christian religion.
Chronicle NG reported that there were reports that Leah Sharibu, who is being imprisoned by members of the Islamic State West Africa Province, has “remarried” another terrorist’s commander after supposedly obtaining a divorce from the previous ‘husband’ forced on her.
It was claimed that after her apparent divorce from one Abdulrahman, Leah remarried to another ISWAP commander in the Lake Chad area named Ali Abdallah.
The Puldu statement reads, “Recent reports on Leah Sharibu, the young girl taken captive by ISWAP terrorists over five years ago, are both confusing and disheartening. It’s confusing because there have been unsubstantiated rumors and scant information regarding the whereabouts of Leah.
“There were a few reports by those who were released or had escaped claiming that she might have been married off and given birth to two children. No pictures, audio, or video have ever surfaced, and, if anything, these were assumptions based on her age and condition of captivity.
“Why should we believe that “local security sources made this revelation in a report”? If they have intelligence on Leah’s whereabouts and any information, then where are the Nigerian armed forces? Why isn’t the government involved in securing her release?
“It’s disheartening because only so often do we hear anything on Leah Sharibu. On the two-year anniversary of Leah’s capture, President Buhari said that “we redouble our efforts for Leah’s return; we can never allow the terrorists to divide us.” Nathan and Rebecca Sharibu are asking what happened to that promise. Buhari left office without fulfilling his promise of rescuing our daughter, Leah. Our family remains grief-stricken by our daughter’s capture and ongoing imprisonment, even as the Nigerian government has been unsuccessful in securing her release.
“In March 2020, Leah’s father, Nathan Sharibu, pleaded, ‘I have not heard anything from federal, state, or local governments since my daughter was abducted. I am even confused now. I need your assistance to put pressure on the federal government to do something about the release of my daughter.’
Puldu lamented the fact that student abductions continued even under President Bola Tinubu’s new administration.
She said, “About a week ago, we woke up to the news of students abducted from Zamfara. This is very shameful and disheartening for Nigerian parents. Despite the terrible economic hardship, parents still have to grapple with the safety of their children in school. We are calling again with a very strong and loud voice on the current government led by President Bola Tinubu to please wake up to its very primary responsibility of safety and protection of the lives and properties of Nigerian citizens.
“We demand the rescue of Leah Sharibu and all others who were in captivity at the hands of terrorists.”