Nigerians have condemned President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu for describing Leah Sharibu, the only Christian girl among the Dapchi schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2018 as “Unfortunate Christian girl”.
Shehu who was responding to a Tweet by Reno Omokri, a former presidential aide to Goodluck Jonathan described Leah as “the unfortunate Christian girl stolen by Boko Haram”.
Reno had challenged Shehu who said president Buhari has made Nigeria safer, to visit one of the dreaded parts of Northern Nigeria and spend a night without security if he is confident that Buhari has made Nigeria safer. In his Tweet, Reno wrote: Garba Shehu while rejecting the challenge said “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 who condemned Shehu’s statement on Twitter.
Below are some reactions: @Uwayaisi “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.”
@divaliciousjay “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!”
@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”
@obydike “@GarShehu everyone knows Leah Sharibu & the story of how Nigeria failed her. Tagging her as an unfortunate Christian girl was ill-advised & witless! You may deploy another subject for your deflective tactics. Mock not Leah Sharibu. Nigeria will yet happen to you. Na turn by turn!”
@jideybrain “The “ unfortunate Christian girl” stolen by boko haram .. power is not for ever .. just quote that .. there’s more to that sentence .. I come in peace ✌🏿”
@Mr_CalebEli “Garba Shehu, Leah Sharibu is not unfortunate Christian Girl, She was not stolen, she was kidnapped by Boko Haram. Your Principal failed to bring her back like he did to other girls that were kidnapped with her. Please face Reno & leave Leah out of this. Respect that name Leah”
@irebamisoyinka “@GarShehu the phrase “unfortunate Christian girl” is the height of your recklessness with words. You need to learn how to respond in a manner befitting of a father or grandfather (if truly you’re one). That statement is too heavy Mr. Aide. Is Leah’s capture now a political game?”
In 2018, Leah could have been freed along with her schoolmates but refused to renounce her faith, according to her mother.
Leah Sharibu refused to accept Islam, resisting the entreaties of her classmates to pretend to do so, her parents learned from a snatched conversation with her friends.
A faction of Boko Haram kidnapped 110 girls and one boy from the girls’ school in Dapchi, a town in north-east Nigeria, in February 19 2018, and released most of them a month later, after what the government described as “back-channel” negotiations.
Three years later, Leah has not been freed and the government has not disclosed if she is still alive or dead.