Mrs. Rebecca Sharibu, mother of Leah, the only Dapchi schoolgirl still in Boko Haram custody, has appealed to the Federal Government and other stakeholders to assist in rescuing her daughter.
Boko Haram on Wednesday released about 104 students of Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State who were kidnapped on February 19. But the only Christian girl among them, Leah, was not released because she reportedly failed to denounce her religion and convert to Islam.
Mrs. Sharibu, in an interview with journalists in Dapchi, on Thursday, said the released girls brought a message that her 15-year-old daughter called for their prayers for God’s will to be done in her life.
According to her, “The released girls told us that the insurgents insisted she must denounce her religion, but she told them she had no knowledge of Islam and can’t be.
“She was then left out of the Dapchi trip on the condition that any day she accepts Islam she will be released.
“Leah, we were told, was left with three other Boko Haram women there and she sends a message that we should pray for God’s will to be done in her life.
“So, I plead that government and the negotiation team should revisit the terms of the agreement to enhance the release of my daughter.
“Everybody has his religion and no one should be compelled to practise a religion he or she never wishes to.”
Also speaking, Mr. Nathan Sharibu, father of Leah, thanked the entire Dapchi community for their solidarity with him and described his relationship with the people of the community over the years as an outstanding one.
Also, residents of Dapchi offered special prayers on Thursday for the repose of the souls of the five girls who died while in captivity in the hands of the Boko Haram insurgents.
The parents, who prayed for the repose of the souls of the students, also called for the unconditional release of the girl still held hostage on religious ground.
Although 104 students were on Wednesday returned to Dapchi community by their Boko Haram abductors, five were confirmed dead while one was reported to have been held back on religious ground.
Despite the large number released, Dapchi community is still sad that five of the girls died while one is still in the captivity of the insurgents as they expressed condolences and sympathy.
Adamu Jumbam, father of one of the deceased students, narrated his ordeal and how sad he felt when it was confirmed that his daughter had died in the custody of her abductors.
“I was troubled when other girls were seen on arrival but my daughter, Aisha, was said to have died along with four others on the day of the abduction.
“All the same, I thank Almighty Allah for this and prayed for the repose of her soul. We can say the government has tried,” he said.
In confusion, he asked: “How can Boko Haram insurgents who abducted these girls still return the girls in broad daylight in the heart of the town?”
He added: “The surprising thing is that Boko Haram abducted these girls and still returned them to the heart of the town in broad daylight and went back freely – it is absolutely amazing.
“We might be termed villagers but it’s surprising to us and I wish to say we have been cheated.
“How will Boko Haram abduct these teenagers over one month, return them, and nothing was done to them?
“If government is serious, we need to see its seriousness with this abduction saga. But if they feel we are not Nigerians, then let it be.”
One other issue of concern to the Dapchi community is the fact that one of the girls is still in captivity.
Members of the community have continued to visit the family to encourage them that efforts would be intensified to ensure her return.
Through one of its executive members, Mr. Deri Kadau, the Dapchi abducted schoolgirls’ parents Association called on those engaged in the negotiation to return to the insurgents by ensuring that Leah Sharibu was released unconditionally.