Leah Sharibu, the Christian schoolgirl abducted along with others from the Government Girls Secondary School, Dapchi in Yobe State by Boko Haram terrorists, has sent a plea to President Muhammadu Buhari to help get her out of captivity.
Her plea was contained in a 35 seconds audio uploaded online by different news media.
A statement issued this evening in Washington, USA, by US NIGERIA LAW GROUP, which has been working closely with her family in Northern Nigeria, said that the family is in possession of a recent audio recording confirmed to be Leah’s voice.
The statement, sent to News Express via e-mail, is signed by International Human Rights Lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe. It reads: “We received today the heartening news of the just released proof of life audio recording of heroine captive Christian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu. This audio comes a week after she clocked a half-year in Boko Haram captivity following the February 19 school mass abduction in Dapchi, Nigeria.
“We contacted the family to authenticate the purported message from Leah and it has been conclusively established as her voice. A forensic evaluation of the message indicates the following:
“Leah was strong, calm and articulate. Apart from two brief pauses, the message was unemotional, mature and stable.
“Leah did not concede capitulation to Islam or condemn her family as has been seen in other Boko Haram proof of life videos for the Chibok girls.
“Leah was depicted in a hijab which we believe she was forced to wear. Our earlier investigation into the Dapchi mass abduction revealed that Leah was first outed as a Christian after she refused to wear a hijab. This is a routine practice of Boko Haram which they also did during the Chibok abductions 4 years ago.
“Leah’s message did not dwell on her own misery or suffering. Rather she made time out to appeal for care and support to her family. This is indicative of a well grounded individual who is more concerned of her family than for herself.
“Leah called upon the president to intervene, indicating this was the key demand the terrorists wanted conveyed.
“The terrorists appear to have allowed Leah to speak ex tempore and not from a script. Ordinarily, they would not have asked her to include a plea for support to her family. Clearly she inserted this on her own. In some prior Chibok tapes, the girls were interviewed Q&A style but not in this case.
“Leah continues to be an epitome of virtue. In this tape she ends it by adding her thanks to the listeners.
“TRANSCRIPT OF LEAH’S REMARKS
“I am the one named Leah Sharibu that was abducted in GGSSTC Dapchi. I am calling on the government and the world to help get me out of my current situation, and to help my mother, my father, my younger brother and relatives. Kindly help me out of my predicament. I am begging you to treat me with compassion, I am calling on the government, particularly, the president to pity me and get me out of this serious situation. I thank you.”
On the impact of the message from Leah, US NIGERIA LAW GROUP said: “We reached out to the family of Leah. Her mother was devastated by the image of her daughter in a hijab and burst into tears. However Leah’s younger brother who helped open the news report for her was on hand to console her.”
The Presidency however said the Department of State Services was probing an audio which was released and was purported to be the voice of Leah Sharibu, who is still in captivity.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a message he posted on his Twitter handle, @GarShehu.
Shehu said government’s official reaction would be released at the end of the investigation.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to the release of all those in captivity and would not rest until the feat was achieved.
The presidential spokesman wrote, “We are aware of the audio in circulation concerning the unfortunate situation of our daughter, Leah Sharibu.
“In dealing with terrorists, nothing is too trivial.
“The secret service is analysing the voice. 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.”
The Rainbow with online reports