This article is part of our #FirstWord series to provide context on trending news.
September 6th, 2018 marked the 200th day since Leah Sharibu was abducted by Islamic extremist sect, Boko Haram, along with 100 other school girls in Dapchi, Yobe State.
In a dramatic turn of events, many of the girls were released on March 21st, 2018 after over a month in captivity. All except Leah Sharibu. According to reports, Leah was kept because she refused to put on the hijab and renounce her Christianity.
Thomas Brake, a member of the UK parliament, participated in a 200-hour #FreeLeah campaign held outside the Nigerian High Commission in London. The campaign was organised by the advocacy group, Church World Service (CWS) and involved taking turns to seat at a school desk placed in front of the Nigerian High Commission office with Leah’s portrait.
What is the update on Leah?
According to the Presidency, the Government is doing its best to ensure that Leah is reunited with her family.
Tortuous negotiations are still ongoing daily to secure her safe release,” - Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information
Meanwhile, on August 27th 2018, it was confirmed that Leah Sharibu sent an audio recording from captivity. In the tape, Leah, who spent her 15th birthday with her abductors called on President Muhammadu Buhari to come to her rescue.
Her parents have confirmed that the voice in the recording is indeed that of Leah. Stakeholders have suggested that the release of the clip may be an indication that Boko Haram wants a ransom before releasing Leah. A few weeks ago, a report submitted to the UN Security Council showed Nigeria paid ransom fees to free Miss Sharibu’s fellow schoolgirls. Nigeria’s Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, as in the past, insists no ransom was paid.
It remains to be seen if the growing cries for her release will lead to her safe return from captivity.