Senior Special Assistant to the president, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has said that the 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 yesterday, in Abuja, Shehu said: ‘‘Instead of giving up, the government is carrying forward processes that should hopefully yield her release by her captors.”
The presidential spokesman was responding to the worrying cycle of speculations on whether Leah Sharibu, the kidnapped Dapchi schoolgirl, had been harmed by her abductors.
He told reporters emphatically 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. The government is committed to her safe return, as well as that of 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, the government understands how difficult this time is for families and friends of the hostages, 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.
Appealing for patience in dealing with the challenge this case poses, the presidential spokesman assured that the administration is fully conscious that any misstep on a delicate issue as this can be costly.
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