-By Austen Akhagbeme:
One of the most painful aspects of our national dilemma is the ease at which our troubled citizens desiring help are abandoned. With all the promises made by this outgoing administration of President Buhari to ensure the release of Leah Sharibu to the waiting hands of her agonising parents, no one, not even Buhari and his handlers remembered her anymore. And this is very disheartening.
Leah’s only offence was to have been born in a nation that pays lip service to safety, security and peace within her borders. A nation that plays politics with even the very life of her citizens with reckless abandon.
Leah Sharibu was among the 110 students of the Government Girls Science and Technical College Dapchi, Yobe State, forcefully adopted on February 19, 2018. When her colleagues were returned by the terrorists a month after, 14 years old Leah was held behind on an alleged refusal by her to denounce her Christian faith.
Ever since then, the traumatised teenager and her parents have become a strange metaphor for national regret and abandonment. But who truly cares? For a grandfather like President Buhari to abandon a young girl like Leah, old enough to be his grandchild after many promises of her soon return, while preparing to go home to Daura after an unimpressionable tenure, leaves much to be desired.
Apart from the unresolved crises of subsidy and scarcity in the petroleum downstream sector, the issues of terrorism and insecurity, institutionalised corruption and the electoral debacle; the issue of Leah Sharibu and many other abandoned citizens in the unsafe haven of kidnappers and terrorists must not be left behind by a regime that rode on the back of populists sloganeering like anti-corruption, patriotism and security to power.
What could be going on in the teenage mind of Leah during these five long years in captivity? What could be her thoughts about her nation Nigeria? A nation that could not go after those heartless folks that went after her to extinguish her burning dreams as a young student in a technical school.
Except something drastic happens in the remaining days of the Buhari tenure to bring a smile to our faces as regards Leah’s ordeal, wherever the history of the Buhari administration is written or discussed after May 29, the story of Leah Sharibu will stand out like a shining scar on the forehead that cannot be hidden. May God comfort the weeping soul of Leah’s mother, Rebecca Sharibu and her traumatised husband.
- Austen Akhagbeme is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online