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Opposition politicizing Leah Sharibu’s captivity — Femi Adesina

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President Muhammadu Buhari’s senior media aide, Femi Adesina has been under fire lately over a few sensitive and controversial issues. But in defence of his principal, he took time out to address some of the issues. He spoke to ThisDay’s Adedayo Adejobi. Excerpts:

A recent report that Leah Sharibu had been married off to a top Boko Haram commander did go down well with many people. What is President Buhari doing to expedite her release over two years after her abduction?

From the words you have used, the adjectives alarming, disturbing, subject to abuse and all that, I wonder who you have been listening to, because that already shows who you have already been listening to. You have been listening to the agitators, who don’t have the fact and who just came up with conjectures. Yes, we know if someone is in captivity it can’t be a normal life. But some people are also playing politics with it, because they don’t know how the girl is living. So, the adjectives you have used may be right and may be wrong. All I will like to say is that, yes, it is inhuman to keep such a young lady away from her family, but then the way you spoke shows you have been listening to some people, who have been playing politics.

You know that some people have used Leah Sharibu as an avenue to oppose the government; they are people who perpetually oppose the government and Leah Sharibu is another avenue for them to play opposition, which is unquestionable. It is not good; you don’t use the travail of such a young lady to play opposition politics, and talking of opposition politics, I am not talking of political party.

We know PDP is an opposition party. I am not talking about PDP alone. There are some activists, who have used it to oppose the president and the government. It is conscienceless to use the travail of such a young lady to play politics. To other part of your question: what has the president done?

I will say what has the world done, because Leah Sharibu is a blot on the conscience of the world not just Nigeria now? The world itself, when you say the world is a global village, it’s not just in terms of communication and the rest. It is in terms of our collective humanity. Then coming home, the president has always said whatever it takes to get the hostages coming home he will do, even including paying.

If payment will do it, he will pay. He said that in his first year of his administration there were some hostages that were released that some ransom was paid. There were some that no ransom was paid. But if you find out that ransom was paid it’s in line with what the president has said he would do and there were some that a dime was not paid and government said that we didn’t pay for that.

Therefore, every effort has been made and it is still being made to rescue Leah Sharibu. I can tell you on good authority that there is a window of communication between our security forces and those who are holding her, but those who are holding her know that she is a person of interest not just in Nigeria but globally.

They are holding her as a sort of ransom, a shield, bargaining chip/tool. That is why it has been so tough to get her released. But we should never give up hope. I like Alexander Pope and I quote him again “hope beats eternal in the human breast”. Hope must continue to beat in our heart that one day Leah Sharibu will come out anytime

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