The presidency has disclosed that only God can determine when Leah Sharibu, the Dapchi schoolgirl being held by terrorist group, Boko Haram, will return from captivity.
When terrorists raided Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe, on February 19, 2018, Leah was abducted alongside 112 other hostages. After weeks of negotiations with the government, the terrorists released 107 of the 113 originally abducted on March 21.
While it was reported by some of the released hostages that five of them that were taken had died of heart attack and stress and buried in the bush, Leah Sharibu was kept in captivity by the terrorists because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.
In an audio message published on Monday, August 27, 2018, Leah appealed to President Muhammadu Buharito secure her freedom, six months after she was abducted.
She said, "I am Leah Sharibu, the girl that was abducted in GGSS Dapchi. I am calling on the government and people of goodwill to intervene to get me out of my current situation.
"I also plead to the members of the public 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. Thank you."
While speaking during an interview on Channels TV on Tuesday, August 28, President Buhari's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said the government cannot properly give a timeline of Sharibu's return.
He said, "For how much longer? I think that question can only be answered by God, but I believe that God is interested in that young girl and will ensure that she's preserved.
"At least by the time that clip we had is verified, one will be sure it's her actually and when that is determined, we should all be glad that she's alive.
"When will she return? By the grace of God, the government is working on it, working at it and we believe she'll be back."
Later during the interview, when asked how long it'll take to verify the voice in the audio message, Adesina could not confirm, but he revealed that President Buhari is eager to get the young girl back.
"To verify, that will be within the purview of the security agencies, particularly the DSS, to do, but I don't think that should take time; but on how long it'll take Leah Sharibu to come back, left to the president, he wants her back today," he said.
Leah's parents confirm audio is authentic
Even though Buhari's Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed that the government is working on verifying the audio message, Leah's parents have confirmed it's indeed her voice in the clip.
"I can confirm to you that the voice that spoke is that of my daughter, Leah. It is her voice, no doubt. I am happy that I can hear my daughter speak. This has given me hope that she is alive. I am also happy to see her recent picture displayed.
"My request is the same with my daughter's. The government should play their part now by intensifying efforts to secure her freedom," her father, Nathan Sharibu, told The Nation.