For the second time in 2019, Leah Sharibu a school who was kidnapped alongside her schoolmates in Dapchi, Yobe State, was rumoured to have been killed.
While her colleagues were released as a result of negotiation between the terrorist group and the government, Miss Sharibu was held back because she refused to renounce her faith. She has been in their custody since February 19, 2018.
There had been pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to make sure the young girl does not die in the captivity of the dreaded Boko Haram.
In February 2019, it was alleged that Miss Sharibu had been killed and the Minister of Information during the first term of the APC-led government Alhaji Lai Muhammed responded saying it was not true. He claimed that the main opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) could be responsible for what he described as “fake news”.
He said PDP could be doing that to heat up the polity.
He promised that his boss was working with the appropriate agencies, bodies and non-governmental organisations within and outside Nigeria to secure the release of the promising and courageous Miss Sharibu.
Barely five months after the first rumoured death of the remaining Dapchi schoolgirl, another video emerged where an aid worker urged the government to work harder for them to be freed. She was also quoted by some online media that some of the Boko Haram captives were killed because the government failed to take action at the right time.
Nigerians took to Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms blaming the government for her alleged death.
Has Leah Sharibu been killed?
We can’t reliably verify the claim. One of the most powerful investigative journalist, violence and terrorism reporter Ahmad Salkida who first released the video of the aid worker was quoted as saying that Grace statement about the status of Miss Sharibu was unclear.
“Perhaps there are multiple versions of the video of Grace. This type of conclusive statement is exactly what we need to be careful about owing to the sensitivity of the issue. Grace statement on Leah was unclear and @A_Salkida who broke the news confirmed the unclearness as well, tweeted Bokostan
Dear #AFP, you have a long history of claiming to see the same video I publish, even the ones that are exclusive to me. It is either we share the same inbox or I am faster than you in publishing the news items. Give the credit where it belongs, please.
— Ahmad Salkida (@A_Salkida) July 25, 2019
Bokostan is another Twitter handle that specialises in analyzing Boko Haram, Ansaru and northern Nigerian/Sahelian security and politics.
In another tweet by Salkida, he said he had exclusive access to the video of the aid worker before it went viral.
It may be difficult to claim that Leah Sharibu has been killed because it may be one of the tactics to divert the attention of the security operatives, claimed one Twitter user on Thursday, “I do not want to believe that. I think it might be a strategy from BokoHaram,” Joseph Mez tweeted.
A few hours Nigerians were talking about the trending video, the dreaded group struck again at Dalori IDP in Maiduguri at about 2100HRS Thursday, July 25, 2019.
Perhaps there are multiple versions of the video of Grace. This type of conclusive statement is exactly what we need to be careful about owing to the sensitivity of the issue. Grace statement on Leah was unclear and @A_Salkida who broke the news confirmed the unclearness as well. https://t.co/b3Yz5hdOHr
— Abdulbasit Kassim (@ScholarAkassi1) July 25, 2019
According to an eye witness quoted by TheCable, a suicide bomber first detonated and gunmen suspected to be fighters of Boko Haram began firing shots indiscriminately.
So the alleged killing of Sharibu might be a tactic to put the government on its toes and another means of “destabilising” the military formations.
The aid worker Grace in the video said, “I am begging on behalf of all of us here that please Nigerians should not allow such to happen to us and it also happened again with Leah and Alice because Nigeria could not do anything about them. They were not released; they were also killed.”
The authenticity of her claim is still being investigated, hopefully, the government would not only investigate but secure the release of the young girl.
Every Nigerian has called and will continue to call on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to change its strategies in order to secure her release.
Nigerians are hopeful that Leah Sharibu is still alive and healthy until she regains her freedom.