By Seun Adeuyi
President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu has been criticised for describing Leah Sharibu, the only Christian girl among the Dapchi schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2018 as “Unfortunate Christian girl stolen by Boko Haram”.
The Presidential Aide was responding to a Tweet by Reno Omokri, a former presidential aide to Goodluck Jonathan.
Omokri had call out Shehu, who said Buhari has made Nigeria safer, challenging him to visit one of the dreaded parts of Northern Nigeria and spend a night without security if he is confident enough.
“Garba Shehu said General @MBuhari has made Nigeria safer. I vow to pay @GarShehu $20000 if he will spend a night without security in Koshobe, or Kware, verified by an independent journalist. I will give the funds to @DeleMomodu when Garba accepts to go,” Omokri had tweeted.
But, Shehu rejected the challenge saying “If this is the money from the collections made in the name of Leah Sharibu, the unfortunate Christian girl stolen by Boko Haram, I won’t touch it with a long. Please keep “your USD20000”.
The description of Leah as “unfortunate Christian girl” triggered most Nigerians to condemn Shehu’s statement.
Read some reactions below:
@mydeji247 wrote: “How would you feel if someone described you as “Garba Shehu the Unfortunate Kano idiot stolen by Mediocrity? Are you guys under a terrible spell?”
@divaliciousjay said: “Look at how he foolishly gave himself away! Some of these people working with Buhari needs psychiatric evaluation! Let the reverse of this statement be made by a Christian every go burst!”
@Uwayaisi said: “Unfortunate Christain girl stolen.” Make this make sense. She isn’t a property but human that was kidnapped and forgotten by Buhari-led government. Lastly, she isn’t an unfortunate Christian girl.”
@call_me_oma: “I thought I was the only one offended by those statements, what kind of country did I find myself in bayiLoudly crying face”
Leah could have been freed along with her schoolmates in 2018 but refused to accept Islam, according to her mother.
Boko Haram kidnapped 110 girls and one boy from the girls’ school in Dapchi, a town in north-east Nigeria, in February 19 2018 at 5:30pm. Most of them were released a month later, after what the government described as “back-channel” negotiations.
After three years, Leah has not been freed and the government has not disclosed if she is dead or still alive.