- Presidency calls for caution over the matter.
- Says reports emanating from some quarters are fake news.
Mallam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, has said that the president Muhamadu Buhari administration will not give up on the safe return of Leah Sharibu, the student of Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School, Dapchi, who was kidnapped by a faction of Boko Haram terrorists in February 2018.
Speaking to a group of journalists on Saturday in Abuja, the president’s spokesman said the Buhari administration is carrying forward processes that should hopefully yield her release by her captors instead of giving up.
Reacting to the worrying cycle of speculations on whether Leah, the kidnapped Dapchi schoolgirl had been harmed by her abductors, Shehu emphatically said that much of what is written about the girl in the press is 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.”
While noting that kidnapping for ransom should never be encouraged, he said this doesn’t mean that the government is capitulating to the demands of terrorists which is refraining from rewarding 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, the 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, therefore, appealed for patience in dealing with the challenge the case poses and assured that the administration is fully conscious that any misstep on a delicate issue as this can be costly.