The media spaces have been awash with reactions to the claims by one Miss Grace Taku, an aid worker with Action Against Hunger who was kidnapped on the 18th of July, 2019 alongside others in Borno state, that the failure of the Nigerian government to act or ‘do something’ has led to the inevitable death of Miss Leah Shuaribu.

Miss Leah Shuaribu alongside over 100 other secondary school girls was kidnapped by Boko Haram in Dapchi, Yobe state on February 19th, 2018 in what was the terrorist groups second largest kidnap attempt. Regrettably, the efforts of the Nigerian Government to secure the release of all the kidnapped girls was blighted when all but Leah Shuaribu were released after negotiations between state officials and the terror group. The public was informed that efforts would be intensified to negotiate the release of Miss Leah Shuaribu who was reportedly still in captivity for her refusal to deny/renounce her Christian faith for Islam. Over 400 days later, amidst waning calls for actions on her behalf, the claims made by Miss Grace Taku in a video made in captivity has jolted the populace back into outrage and recentered discourse around a lonesome yet brave school girl

As a group, we must first caution against taking at a face value all the information passed on in the widely circulated video of Miss Grace Taku. It may as well be one part of a script by the insurgent group known for its propensity for propaganda and untruths. We, however, note that it is indeed not out of context for the objective of the group to assert itself through the actual death of Miss Leah Shuaribu especially as a strategy to purge public outrage against the government to bring them to the table of negotiation.

With the recent kidnap of a new Christian aid worker and others, Boko Haram have the fodder to perhaps bargain for the release of their men or other monetary gains to swell their ranks. The news of the death of Miss Leah Shuaribu who has gained a celebrity status of sorts with the general public as a rallying point of faith, bravery and expression of hope may yet be the ace hand dealt for instant attention.

We must wait for further proof of the claims in said video especially as it is well within the capacity of the Nigeria Government through its intelligence community to verify such a sordid claim.

It must be stated, however, that the abysmal effort of the Nigeria Government to pursue a course to secure the release of Miss Leah Shuaribu all these many months is a failure on their part. Miss Leah Shuaribu like so many other innocent school girls and boys, women and men who have been victims of the terror of Boko Haram, are statistical graveyards of the ineptitude of leadership, and of a failed security and social system.

All efforts to verify the sad claims made by Miss Taku must be intensified with the thought and intent to secure the release of Miss Leah Shuaribu and others like her if indeed news of her death is false.

We salute the courage of Miss Leah Shuaribu in the face of such adversity. Her trials have indeed been many and her triumph few, if any. Our thoughts are extended to her surviving family who must truly be the most hit by the seeming resignation of their daughter to the whims of a diabolically evil insurgent sect with an appetite for blood. The possibility of her death is exacerbated by the murderous rhetoric of the Boko Haram group and the negligent, thus culpable, inability of the government to have taken action in her case.


The incarceration of Miss Leah Shuaribu on grounds of her faith would serve as a point of introspection on the texture and nature of the Nigerian insurgent war, viewed through the prism of government action or inaction thence. It is truly a period that calls for sober reflections on Nigeria’s choices through its leaders in the hope that the country may move forward having better appraised, appreciated and resolved on how to defend its territorial integrity and the lives/livelihood of its citizenry.

Our thoughts are with Miss Leah Shuaribu, her family And Nigeria as a single, indissoluble whole. Our hopes are of peace, order and the restoration of calm in all crises afflicted regions in the nation. While we wait for official confirmation or rebuttal of claims of Miss Leah Shuaribu ‘s death, the public would do well to proffer constructive resolutions rather than wax political or sentimental when lives continue to be at stake.

Thank you.

Shalom Olaseni,
Executive Director,
United Global Resolve For Peace(UGRFP)

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