ABDUCTED teenage schoolgirl Leah Sharibu’s family have said that they want her back despite recent news that she had just delivered a baby boy for a Bioko Haram commander in Niger Republic.
In 2018, Leah was kidnapped along with several of her classmates in Yobe State but was not released with the others after she allegedly refused to renounce her Christian faith. Despite a concerted international campaign calling for her release, Boko Haram have kept her in captivity and over the weekend, it emerged that she has just given birth.
Dr Gloria Puldu, a senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science at the University of Jos, who speaks for the family, said that all they wanted was to have Leah home alive, with or without a baby. According to media reports, Leah had a baby for a Boko Haram commander in Niger Republic and she would have been released some months ago but for her pregnancy.
Dr Puldu said: “I have seen reports that Leah had a baby boy but that is just a rumour as far as we are concerned. What we desire is to see a proof of life so that we see Leah by ourselves. If they are able to have Leah safe, we will understand.
“The most important thing is that we want her to be alive and if she is alive, we will praise God for that. They should release her whatever condition she is in and it doesn’t matter whether she is pregnant or with a baby.”
Reverend Joel Billi, the president of Church of the Brethren, revealed that a journalist who has access to Boko Haram, Ahmad Salkida, told him that Leah had become a mother. He added that he got the call from Mr Salkida on the same day he revealed the execution of the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Reverend Lawan Andimi, by Boko Haram.
“Ahmed Salkida, whom I knew as a young boy when I was a pastor in Biu, called me to inform me that Andimi had been gruesomely murdered. I was also told by Ahmad Salkida that Leah Sharibu had given birth to a baby and I was devastated.
“I was staggering and almost fell down because I was shocked to hear that. I couldn’t absorb the shock because Leah Sharibu had become a symbol of the Christian faith and I consider her Christian faith stronger than even that of many church leaders.
“When I heard that Leah Sharibu was now a mother, I had to ask more than three times just to be sure. Ahmad Salkida said Leah Sharibu is now a mother,” Reverend Billi added.
Leah was among 110 schoolgirls abducted on February 19, 2018 by Boko Haram terrorists from Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi in Yobe State. In March 2018, the federal government announced the insurgents had returned 106 of the kidnapped schoolchildren but that Leah was not among them.
It was reported that Leah, who was 14 years old at the time she was kidnapped, was not released because she refused to convert to Islam. It is not yet clear if she will not be released or not.