Gbenro Adeoye, Friday Olokor and Hindi Livinus
The family of Christian teenage schoolgirl abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in 2018, Leah Sharibu, has described reports that she had a baby boy in captivity as a rumour.
A senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Jos, Dr. Gloria Puldu, who speaks for the family, also told Sunday Punch on Saturday that all they wanted was to have Leah home alive, with or without a baby.
Some media reports had earlier reported that Leah had a baby for a Boko Haram commander in Niger Republic and that she would have been released some months ago but for her pregnancy.
Dismissing the reports, Puldu said, “I have seen reports that Leah had a baby boy. That is just a rumour as far as we are concerned. What we even desire is to see a proof of life so that we see Leah by ourselves. If they are able to have Leah safe, we will understand.
“The most important thing is that we want her to be alive. And if she is alive, we will praise God for that. They should release her, despite whatever condition she is in. That is all; it doesn’t matter whether she is pregnant or with a baby. Is it not better to have your child alive? So, it doesn’t matter, all we are interested in is her life and safety.”
Puldu also noted that they had unconfirmed information that Leah was still alive.
She said, “I spoke with Jennifer, who was in Boko Haram captivity, last Monday or Tuesday. I was able to speak with her one-on-one and she told us that she did not see Leah in captivity, but she was with Alison Gada, who informed her that Leah was alive, healthy and not dead.”
Incidentally, President of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (Church of the Brethren), Rev Joel Billi, told one of our correspondents that a journalist who has access to Boko Haram, Ahmad Salkida, told him Leah had become a mother.
The cleric said he got the call from Salkida on the same day the journalist announced the execution of the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Rev Lawan Andimi, by Boko Haram.
He said he had known Salkida as a young boy while he was a pastor in Biu.
Billi said, “Ahmed Salkida, whom I knew as a young boy when I was a pastor in Biu, called me to inform me that Andimi had been gruesomely murdered.
“I was also told by Ahmad Salkida that Leah Sharibu had given birth to a baby. I was devastated. I was staggering and almost fell down because I was shocked to hear that. I couldn’t absorb the shock because Leah Sharibu had become a symbol of the Christian faith. I consider her Christian faith stronger than even that of many church leaders. When I heard that Leah Sharibu was now a mother, I had to ask more than three times just to be sure. Ahmad Salkida said, ‘Leah Sharibu is now a mother.’”
Leah was among 110 schoolgirls abducted on February 19, 2018 by Boko Haram terrorists from Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi in Yobe State.
In March 2018, the Federal Government announced the insurgents had returned 106 of the kidnapped schoolchildren but that Leah was not among them.
It was reported that Leah, who was 14 years old at the time she was kidnapped, w as not released because she refused to convert to Islam.