Mrs Rebecca Sharibu shares her agony about the abduction of her daughter three years ago in this interview.
How do you feel about Leah’s absence knowing she’s not dead but in Boko Haram captivity?
I feel very bad. It grieves me a lot because there were more than 100 abducted schoolchildren; the others have been released, but Leah is still in captivity.
With the series of abduction going on now, how have Leah’s siblings been coping?
They go to school like other children. But I am in constant fear because of what is happening.
Can you say religious prosecution is responsible for Leah’s fate?
Yes, it is. The Bible has said it already and it must come to pass.
Before the abduction, did your family and others experienced religious discrimination?
No. The people were good. They didn’t treat us differently because of our religion.
Why did you leave Dapchi?
The reason I left Dapchi is because the place is not safe. I lived in constant fear. I worked in Dapchi for 23 years; I had to resign from the State Post Primary School Management Board. I want to plead with the Yobe State Government to pay my gratuity and pension. I did not leave the service of the state government voluntarily; I had to leave because of the anguish.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) called you at a time. Can you tell us what you discussed with him? Was there an expectation on your part that your daughter would soon be released because the President called?
Yes. There was such an expectation in my heart. We spent at least three minutes talking. He encouraged me. He assured me that Leah would be released soon and asked me not to worry. I was filled with joy. I even concluded that Leah would not spend more than a month in captivity again. However, she is still in captivity. It is more than three years now, yet she hasn’t been released.
After that call by the President, has he called again? Has the family received any other call from the government?
He didn’t call again but he sent a delegation from Abuja led by the Minister of Women Affairs last October. What he told me over the phone was exactly what they told me. They said I should pray that very soon, Leah would be released.
Do you still hope that someday you will see Leah?
Yes, I do hope that someday I will see Leah. With God, all things are possible. We will continue to call on the government to fulfil its promise. The government has promised us more than twice; so, we call on the government to fulfil those promises.
How did you react to the news that your daughter had given birth in captivity?
Yes, we heard something like that; but we believe it is a rumour. There was no proof regarding the post on the social media. So, we discarded the information.
Assuming Leah is released now and she comes bearing a child?
I will accept her. I will not reject her because she’s my daughter.