Leah Sharibu as a pawn in the Dapchi abduction game


The history of Biblical Leah is that she was hated and unwanted. The Bible is more descriptive of her by what it does not say rather than by what it says. We know that she is the eldest daughter of Laban, uncle of Jacob. Her sister Rachel was beautiful, comely, and well favored.

Leah, by contrast, was tender-eyed, weak, soft and frail. We are led to believe, by inference, that although she was older, she played second fiddle in every area and aspect of her life.

Monday, February 19, 2018, is a day Mr. and Mrs. Sharibu will always dread to remember in their lives. At about 5:30pm, 110 schoolgirls, aged between 11 and 19 years, were reportedly kidnapped by the notorious Boko Haram terrorist from their school, the Government Girls Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, located in Bulabulin, Yunusari Local Government Area of Yobe State.

In the course of that abduction, the tender-eyed, weak, soft and frail Leah Sharibu was whisked away by Boko Haram terrorists to an unknown location.

With the Chibok saga still fresh on the minds of Nigerians and its government, the Federal Government directed a manhunt for the release of the girls. The manhunt saw combined efforts of the military, the police, immigration service, civilian joint task force as well as foreign aid agencies, working round the clock to ensure the release of the girls.

Thankfully, exactly one month and two days after the manhunt began, the presidency on March 21, announced that 109 of the girls had been released.

The processes that led to the eventual release, as well as likely compromises which raised a lot of dust across the country is another totally different kettle of fish.

In the course of the announcement made during an ongoing Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, it was however sadly noted that while five of the girls were allegedly killed during the process of their kidnap, a certain Leah Sharibu was not left off the hook because she refused to renounce her faith. Leah is a Christian.

Biblically, we are made to understand that Leah was unappreciated and overlooked; a pawn given away to a man whose heart and mind was for her sister. She was a side bargain in somebody else’s dream – the flea that comes with the dog. For the purpose of this article, it would not be totally wrong to assume the same scenario playing out here. Because how can one explain the refusal of the abductors to hold on to Miss Sharibu because she chose not stick to her faith, and the seeming lack of will on the part of the Federal Government to secure her release.

For failing to secure her release even after about 32 days since her colleagues were freed, could Leah Sharibu have been used as a pawn? A side bargain in the whole release process.

For her father Nathaniel Sharibu who is a serving police officer with the Nigeria Police Force, it is a very harrowing experience knowing you can’t do anything but wait, hope and pray that she is freed.

Ordinarily, anyone in his shoes would have looked up to him given his status as a police officer to help secure the release of an abducted child, but in this case, who is he to look up to?

Nigeria, being a country that easily forgets seems not to be doing enough. The only thing that has sustained the Dapchi drama is the Leah Sharibu factor in the mix. We have fretted over her. But nothing seems to have changed. Perhaps, the only thing we are holding on to now is that the absurd drama called the Dapchi abduction has given us a new national figure called Leah Sharibu.

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