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Leah’s voice is “hope that she is alive” says her father

West & Central Africa

Leah’s voice is “hope that she is alive” says her father

Nathan Sheribu, has confirmed that the audio released by the Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group is indeed the voice of his daughter Leah pleading to be released.

“I can confirm to you that the voice that spoke is that of my daughter Leah. It is her voice no doubt.” Nathan said.

For Nathan who was hearing from his daughter for the first time since her abduction in February, this is the first proof of life. “I am happy that I can hear my daughter speak. This has giving me hope that she is alive. I am also happy to see her recent picture displayed.” The excited father said.

“My request is the same with my daughter. The government should play their part now by intensifying efforts to secure her freedom,” Nathan said

Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant to President Buhari on Media, said the government has not yet verified the voice to ascertain its authenticity saying the Department of State Services is still analysing the audio. “Our reaction will follow the outcome of the investigation. For President Buhari, nothing will be spared in bringing all our girls home. “He will not rest until all of them are freed.” Shehu said.

Leah in picture by Boko Haram

Leah Sharibu was abducted together with 109 other girls from Government Girls Secondary Technical College, Dapchi in Yobe State, north eastern Nigeria in February, in circumstances a lot of people felt was staged. Leah was the only Christian amidst all other who were Muslims. When the Nigerian government paid the ransom for their release, though the government continues to deny it paid any ransom contrary to a UN report, Leah was not released because, according to her school mates, she refused to convert to Islam.

Christian organisations continue to point to the ‘agenda’ to persecute Christians and force an islamisation of the country. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) points to the campaign by the Boko Haram Islamic Jihadi groups as well as the Fulani cattle herdsmen attacking and killing predominantly Christians and taking over their villages in Central Nigeria as a continuation of the 19th Century Usman Dan Fodio Islamic Jihad. CAN has also pointed out the federal government’s lopsided political appointments in the country to favour Muslims.

Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha has however said there is no such plan to Islamise Nigeria. Mustapha claimed that this is just a figment of imagination and “a dummy sold to Christians that there is a plan to Islamize Nigeria.”

Boss said, “if there is an Islamic agenda why we don’t have Christian Agenda?” Mustapha claimed that Nigeria’s membership in the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) was introduced when “General Yakubu Gowon (who is a Christian) was at the helm of the affairs… issue of the Islamic banking system was initiated in 2005 during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo… The third is the issue was insurgency that we had in this country, the first pronounced one was in 1983 that’s during Mai Tatsine, which erupted in Kano, Maiduguri and later Yola, and I am confident to say that when it erupted it spread but the current president (Buhari) was the one that decisively dealt with it.” Mustapha stressed.

Abducted Chibok schoolgirls

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said “Such fallacies like the Islamisation of Nigeria, the killing of Christians by Muslims, the labelling of Nigeria as the most dangerous place for Christians in the world can only serve one purpose: trigger a religious war.”

Lai Mohammed said for Christians to claim the 10 year old radical Islamic insurgency in which predominantly Christian have been killed and from which international organisations described Nigeria as the most dangerous place for Christians, “is a disservice to Nigeria and an overkill.’’

Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos

image credits/Nathan/Leah and Chibok school girls from Boko Haram propaganda video

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